An IDU Fact Finding Mission, visitingVenezuela in April 2011 in order to assess the political developments in the country, concludes that there are strong reasons for concern over the limitations to freedom of expression in Venezuela. The election system has been manipulated to serve the supporters of President Chávez. Courts in Venezuela are no longer independent. Judges not following the orders from the executive have been replaced or even jailed. The practice of applying laws retroactively is increasing. So-called anti terrorism jurisdiction have been applied on actions taking place years before the act.
The IDU report criticizes Venezuela’s systematic attacks against the independence of media: Achieving “communication hegemony” is proclaimed as a goal by President Chávez. TV and radio stations that are critical of the regime have lost their license to broadcast (a total of 32 stations so far), and numerous others are intimidated into self-censorship under the threat that the same could happen to them. Furthermore, media are being charged with defamation and libel when they criticize the government or the President for the level of violence, the bad economy and attacks on opposition leaders and others that go against the government in Venezuela.
The summary and conclusions of the report from the IDU Fact Finding Mission are available in PDF format here: Conclusions.pdf
For further background IDU member parties also have access to the notes from the delegation’s many meetings, see posting in the members’ login area.