IAPA Wants To Talk Press Freedom With Venezuela’s Chavez

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By: E&P Staff

Trying again to meet with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to discuss press freedom issues, the Inter American Press Association Monday suggested a June 22 date for the discussion.

Miami-based IAPA had earlier sought a May 5 meeting with Chavez and Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, but the trip to Venezuela was postponed.

IAPA’s delegation would be headed by its president, Diana Daniels of The Washington Post Co., and the chairman of its Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquin, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala newspaper Prensa Libre.

At its mid-year meeting in Quito this March, IAPA formally resolved to “to send an international mission to Venezuela to collect further information on the current status of freedom of expression and press freedom in the country, and thereby follow up on the many previous IAPA missions to Venezuela during the current administration.”

IAPA has been critical of what it calls Chavez’s anti-press policies, and the Venezuelan government has not hid its contempt for the organization. When IAPA was meeting last October in Indianapolis, for instance, Vice President Rangel told reporters in Venezuela that “SIP is a latrine,” using the group’s initials in Spanish.

“It represents the muddiest and darkest of the world of media business,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

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