Libel suit by mayor results in nearly four-year ban on newspaper columnist

first_img New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets News VenezuelaAmericas A court in Valencia, the capital of the northern state of Carabobo, has banned columnist Francisco Pérez of the local daily El Carabobeño from working as journalist for three years and nine months. In its ruling, issued in a libel case on 11 June, the court also ordered Pérez to pay 1,250 ‘‘Tax Units‘‘ (15,500 euros) in damages.The suit, accusing Pérez of insulting a public official, was brought by Valencia mayor Edgardo Parra in response to claims that he gave key positions to members of his family. Pérez made the allegations on 30 March 2009 in his regular column ‘‘En Secreto’’ (“In Secret”), which he has been writing for more than 30 years. Pérez described the court’s ruling as “absurd” and said he would appeal. He had not defamed either the mayor or his family because everyone knew that members of the mayor’s family were working in the city hall, he said. “The mayor never asked me if he could use his right of reply in the newspaper,” Pérez said as he left the court. “I will not retract what I wrote because I have confidence in my sources.” “We condemn the archaic and dangerous nature of the court’s decision,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The ban on working as a journalist is disgraceful and out of all proportion to the alleged offence. Under what principle can journalists be denied the ability to express their views? The ruling is an extraordinary violation of press freedom and, if upheld, could incite journalists to censor themselves.”The ruling was issued the same day that a warrant was issued for the arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga, the head of the privately-owned TV station Globovisión, on charges unrelated to his activities as a media-owner. Zuloaga is separately facing charges of insulting the president in comments made last March. News News June 14, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Libel suit by mayor results in nearly four-year ban on newspaper columnist Help by sharing this information VenezuelaAmericas January 13, 2021 Find out more Newscenter_img June 15, 2020 Find out more Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives Organisation RSF_en Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela August 25, 2020 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Venezuela Receive email alertslast_img read more

Read More »

Legislation watch

first_imgThe Forum of Private Business (FPB) has called on the government to lift barriers preventing smaller businesses competing for contracts from public authorities.Its argument has been strengthened by a report on public procurement from the Commons Trade and Industry Select Committee that said smaller firms were hampered by the complex and costly tendering process.FPB campaigns manager Matt Hardman said that while the principles of the government’s procurement policy were clear, its practical implementation was “a huge problem and smaller firms, which could often provide authorities with the best value for money, are excluded from the tendering process”.The FPB provided evidence to the committee of MPs, supported by case studies from a selection of the 25,000 small and medium-sized firms it represents. It urged the government to ensure contracts are awarded according to the principle of best value for money.One FPB member commented: “Public procurement bodies tend to put out contracts to consultants who charge fees of between £250 and £600 just to add your name to their database, with absolutely no guarantees of any work.”Hardman said public authorities tend to “bundle tenders together for convenience when they could get better value for money by breaking them up and putting them out to tender individually”.Separately, the FPB has called on the government to cut or remove business rates on around 150,000 small businesses.last_img read more

Read More »