IAPA calls on Venezuela for immediate release of foreign correspondent

MIAMI, Florida (November 8, 2013)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) tonight called on the government of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro to immediately release journalist Jim Wyss, correspondent of The Miami Herald, who has been detained for the past 24 hours.

Wyss is based in Bogotá, from where he travels around Latin America. He was detained last night in San Cristóbal in the Venezuelan state of Táchira, where he was reporting on upcoming municipal elections and the shortage of first necessity consumer goods.

He was transferred this afternoon to Caracas and remains in jail. Official sources of the Venezuelan National Guard, the Military Intelligence Headquarters and the newspaper itself were not able to provide any information about whether Wyss will be released or face charges. He is meanwhile being held in solitary confinement.

Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, publicly called on Venezuelan authorities for the “immediate release of the journalist” and said he was bewildered by a “new demonstration of intolerance by a regime that day after day shows its contempt for the work of journalists and freedom of the press.”

“We call for good sense,” added Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, “and that President Maduro’s government does not trample on the principles of international conventions regarding due respect for the work of foreign correspondents and that it does not restrict their ability to move about and communicate.”

Paolillo added that the detention of the correspondent “is a an affront to the international community and its right to know.”

The last report by Wyss on Venezuela published some days ago by The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald referred to political and diplomatic disagreements between United States and Venezuelan authorities.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.

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