Censorship of Documentary by Amnesty International Sparks Campaign of Support

The Canadian Chapter of AI yielded to pressure from Venezuelan opposition groups to cancel the screening of an award-winning documentary about the 2002 coup d'etat en Venezuela.

A group of organizations have started a campaign in support of the award-wining documentary film The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, after the Canadian Pacific Region Chapter of Amnesty International decided to exclude it from the upcoming Amnesty International Film Festival to be held at the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, Canada, from November 6-9, 2003. The film was scheduled to be presented at the Festival in order to start a discussion on the current Venezuelan political crisis.

The film is being screened at film festivals and theaters around the world, and it has been the recipient of numerous awards. It has provided insight into a historical event with exclusive footage that reveals details of this unconstitutional and undemocratic overthrow of an elected-leader that were previously omitted by the international mass media.

The atrocities denounced in the film have been documented by Amnesty International in their 2003 Annual Report: http://web.amnesty.org/report2003/Ven-summary-eng.

An official from the Venezuelan Chapter of Amnesty International described the decision by the Canadian Chapter as “censorship”. “There is no other word to describe it, they just want to avoid controversy due to the pressure from Venezuelan opponents to the government,” said the official who asked to remain anonymous.

The Canadian Chapter of Amnesty International has decided to eliminate the film from their upcoming festival claiming that the film’s subject matter does not address human rights issues, and because the screening of the film would further polarize the Venezuelan people and potentially create more violence within Venezuela.

The Canadian Chapter of Amnesty International did not admit that they yielded to pressure from Venezuelan opposition groups who launched a campaign to discredit the film, protecting the coup plotters and discrediting the Venezuelan government. “They just didn’t want to generate controversy,” said the Venezuelan AI official about the Canadian Chapter of the organization.

A document in support of the film is being circulated along with a signature campaign.