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News: Venezuelan Media

Venezuelan Newspaper under Investigation Due to “Defamation” of Women

Coro, August 23rd 2011 ( – This Monday, Venezuelan women marched to the District Attorney’s Office in Caracas demanding that the office take action against the weekly newspaper “6to Poder” (6th Power) for having engaged in “symbolic violence against women”.

The march was convened after the newspaper published an editorial piece this week entitled “Chávez’s Women in Power”, featuring a doctored image of female members of government wearing sexually provocative outfits as part of a cabaret. The protestors also claimed that the newspaper referred to the female representatives using “disrespectful and deprecating” language.

“We urge the Republic’s District Attorney, Luisa Ortega Díaz, to apply the full weight of the law and sanctions where admissible. We demand the immediate closure of the weekly newspaper 6to Poder for the flagrant violation of women’s rights” read the statement signed by the women.

“It’s not just about the dignified women that represent us in public institutions, it’s about all the women of this country” said Maríá García, who attended the demonstration.

The President of Venezuela’s Supreme Court of Justice, Luisa Estela Morales, confirmed that the judiciary was “going to, and is taking measures” against the paper, and stated that “as women we are prepared to defend our dignity, we cannot allow this kind of assault”.

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) have backed the motion against the newspaper, whereas the opposition coalition, the “Roundtable of Democratic Unity” (MUD) has condemned it as an “attack on freedom of expression”. The MUD is also currently under investigation for receiving millions of dollars in support from U.S. government organisations such as the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in violation of Venezuela’s National Electoral Council.

One of the women featured in the newspaper’s inflammatory article, who is Vice-president of the National Assembly, Blanca Eeckout, condemned the piece as part of a wider destabilisation campaign of the right that began with disparaging remarks made towards the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) earlier last week.

“They know that they have no arguments, nor morality, nor the capability to replace the leadership of president Hugo Chávez. They keep pursuing an agenda of violence, destabilisation, aggression and war” stated Eeckout.

The “6th Power” publication provoked controversy earlier this year when its editor, Leocenis García, admitted to maintaining a friendship with Wilmer Brizuela, head of one of the prison gangs engaged in a standoff with the Venezuelan government at El Rodeo prison complex in June.

“Yes, I’m a friend of Wilmer Brizuela, mafia leader of Bolivar, what’s the problem?” wrote García on his twitter account.

García released a statement today alleging that Chávez was a “dictator” after the director of his newspaper was detained.

“Here there is freedom of expression, but not freedom of defamation” said Rodrigo Cabezas of the PSUV party, who urged Venezuela’s private media channels to practise “responsible journalism”.

Human Rights Ombudswoman Gabriela Ramirez confirmed that the Supreme Court of Justice and the Public Defence Office would be responsible for the investigation and for making the results of the inquiry public knowledge.

“It is extremely important that the people administrate the information,” concluded Ramirez.

Fearing that opposition forces are trying to destabilise the Chávez government with the aid of foreign powers, the Venezuelan National Assembly called a special meeting this Monday to discuss the possibility of an attack on state institutions. In April 2002 Chávez was temporarily removed from power in a coup orchestrated by Venezuela’s private media channels and the national business community. The Venezuelan president was only restored to power after hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans marched for the return of their democratically elected president.   

Published on Aug 23rd 2011 at 2.39pm