Friday, July 31, 2009

Cesnsorship Law / Ley Censura: Petkoff take on yesterday's Chavez censorship excuse

Yesterday was the day that chavismo started its formal legal attack to restrain serverely freedom of expression. Today's Tal Cual editorial of Teodoro Petkoff is noteworthy on this regard, the more so that he changed the newspaper scheme which has Laureno Marquez on Fridays. Many articles in the paper were devoted to the unacceptable speech and intentions of Luisa Ortega speech at the Nazional Assembly yesterday. In Spanish at the end, my translation below.

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General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega could have well written her "humble" proposal Special Bill Against Media Crimes with only three articles.

"Article 1: sections 57 and 58 of the Constitution relating to freedom of expression and information are henceforth repealed, as well as any other article that collides with Article 2 of this bill.

Article 2: The Prosecutor office will describe as a punishable media crime any information or opinion that is published or disseminated through print, television or radio.

The judges shall punish with sentences of six months to four years imprisonment any accused by the Prosecutor’s office, under the penalty of immediate dismissal [if they fail to do so].

Article 3: The president of the republic and the ministers of Interior and Defense are empowered to describe such crimes " .

This bill, unfortunately for her, will be associated with his name forever, and is probably the most savage and brutal law that the country has known in our recent history.

In fact, the article itself, vague and unclear as to the criminality of the alleged "media crimes", opens a broad space for the exercise of the discretion of the Public Prosecutor, which will have, of course, the task of describing it as a crime whatever s/he wishes it to be ¬ either motu propio or following the complaint of a third party¬ then bringing charges to court, of which almost certainly (for that is effect we have the demonstration of the recent dismissal of Judge Alicia Torres), a conviction will be obtained.

The project transformed into punishable subject all the inhabitants of this country.

"Any person who expresses through any medium of communication" (Article 3), can be described as a media "criminal". A worker of Alcasa, denouncing the chaotic state in which the aluminum companies in Guyana are would be compromising "State security"; an oil worker to report on the stopped drills, would be attacking "State security "; information about Venezuelan weapons in the hands of the FARC, insults " state security "; a mother whose son was murdered and who complains about the helplessness that is the lot of the population of [poor to modest] neighborhoods, could be accused of compromising "social peace"; to publish the weekly death toll could create a "sense of impunity": crime media; a feature on golf courses in Cuba could injure the public morality "because the head of state has already said that this is a "bourgeois"sport , which does not fit with the twenty-first century socialism. Information on work stoppages, strikes, popular protests, hurt the "social peace". And so on, ad infinitum, because the government pays but cashes in. So it is not a matter only for the media and journalists. All the people of this country are being challenged by this "legal" monstrosity.

The bill must be sent to all governments of America, all the media world, so everyone can see for themselves in front of what dictatorial and totalitarian monstrosity our country has been placed. No need to even comment. It's so obvious, so naked in its repression, that it is self-explanatory. For us, Venezuelans, this "law" is a call to arms. It is to be hoped that everyone is listening.

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Spanish original, Friday July 31, Tal Cual

Bien habría podido la Fiscal Luisa Ortega redactar su "humilde" proyecto de Ley Especial contra Delitos Mediáticos con sólo tres artículos. "Artículo 1: Se derogan los artículos 57 y 58 de la Constitución, relativos a la libertad de expresión y de información, así como cualquier otro que colida con el artículo 2 de esta ley.Artículo 2: El Ministerio Público calificará como delito mediático punible toda información u opinión que sea publicada o difundida por medios impresos, televisivos o radiofónicos.

Los jueces sancionarán con penas de seis meses a cuatro años de prisión a todo imputado por el MP, so pena de destitución inmediata.- Artículo 3: Se faculta al presidente de la República y a los ministros del Interior y de Defensa para calificar estos delitos".

Este proyecto de ley, que infortunadamente para ella, quedará asociado a su nombre para siempre, es probablemente el texto legal más salvaje y brutal que haya sido conocido por el país en su historia contemporánea.

De hecho, el propio articulado, vago y difuso en cuanto a la tipificación de los supuestos "delitos mediáticos", abre un amplísimo espacio para el ejercicio de la discrecionalidad del Ministerio Público, el cual tendrá, naturalmente, la misión de calificar como delito lo que le de la gana ¬ya sea de motu proprio o atendiendo la denuncia de un tercero¬, luego, imputar ante tribunales, de los cuales con toda seguridad (para eso está el efectodemostración de la destitución reciente de la jueza Alicia Torres), se obtendrá una sentencia condenatoria.
El proyecto transforma en sujetos punibles a todos los habitantes de este país.

"Cualquier persona que se exprese a través de cualquier medio de comunicación" (artículo 3), puede ser calificada como "delincuente" mediático. Un obrero de Alcasa, que denuncie el estado caótico en que se encuentran las empresas del aluminio en Guayana, estaría atentando contra la "seguridad del Estado"; un obrero petrolero que informe sobre la paralización de taladros, estaría atentando contra la "seguridad del Estado"; una información sobre armas venezolanas en manos de las FARC, atentaría contra la "seguridad del Estado"; una madre cuyo hijo ha sido asesinado y se queje de la indefensión en que se encuentra la población de los barrios, podría ser acusada de atentar contra la "paz social"; dar la cifra de muertos semanales podría generar "sensación de impunidad": delito mediático; un reportaje sobre los campos de golf en Cuba lesionaría la "moral pública" porque el jefe del Estado ya dijo que ese es un deporte "burgués", que no cabe en el socialismo del siglo XXI. Informaciones sobre paros, huelgas, protestas populares, lastimarían la "paz social". Y así, ad infinitum, porque es el gobierno quien paga y se da el vuelto. Por eso es que no es un asunto que atañe sólo a medios y periodistas. Toda la gente de este país está siendo desafiada por este esperpento "legal".

El proyecto de ley tiene que ser enviado a todos los gobiernos de América, a todos los medios de comunicación del mundo, para que todos puedan apreciar, por sí mismos, ante qué engendro totalitario y dictatorial está colocado nuestro país. No se necesita, ni siquiera, comentarlo. Es tan obvio, tan desnudo, en su intención represiva, que se explica por sí solo. Para nosotros, venezolanos, esta "ley" es un toque de zafarrancho de combate. Es de esperar que todos lo estén oyendo.


-The end-

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