Venezuelan Journalist Wilfred Ojeda Murdered
April 30, 2011
The body of journalist Wilfred Ojeda was found by police dumped in waste on May 17, 2011. He was beaten, tortured and shot to death. Ojeda was a columnist for the El Clarin newspaper in La Victoria, and an activist for the Democratic Action political party that opposed President Chavez.
President Chavez has been highly critical of media. Harassment by police and violence against journalists has been all too common. In June 2010, the government brought criminal charges against the owner of the only independent television station in Venezuela, Globovision. Leading up to September 2010’s parliamentary elections, there were increasing crackdowns on independent media and more than 30 radio and television stations were closed under Venezuela’s Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television. The law punished journalists for being critical of authorities. In 2009 two reporters were killed, Jacinto Lopez of El Impulso and Orel Sambrano of ABC de la Semana and Radio America—both shot to death.
Freedom House urges the Venezuelan government to take swift action in finding Ojeda’s killer and allow journalists to express their opinions and report freely without fear of retaliation.