In a written statement, the National Guild of Journalists (known here as the Colegio Nacional de Periodistas or CNP) has strongly rejected yesterday’s decision of giving the 2013 National Journalism Award to the late Hugo Chávez.
They justified their rejection in part because of Chávez’s record regarding free speech:
“We reject that the 2013 Simón Bolívar National Journalism Award was granted to the late President Hugo Chávez, who was the responsible of the shutdown of innumerable media outlets during his governing term (like RCTV or 33 radio stations), leaving dozens of collegues without work. He also, on more than one ocassion, exposed journalists who made “uncomfortable” questions to public ridicule…”
But their biggest objection is simply that Chávez wasn’t a journalist, according to the legislation that regulates journalism in Venezuela (Ley del Ejercicio del Periodismo).
Article 2 of the same law establishes that: “To exercise the profession of journalist it is required to have a university degree in journalism or media studies… …and to be a registered member of the CNP.”
Interesting that the National Journalism Awards’ jury forgot that not just the late comandante presidente didn’t fulfill those requirements, but that his government has pushed both legislation that undermines journalism and a parallel journalists’ guild.