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Venezuelan army holds two journalists for hours

August 18, 2016

Two Venezuelan journalists who work for foreign media outlets were detained by the army for four hours Thursday after reporting near the presidential palace, triggering condemnation from the national press union.

Andreina Flores, a correspondent for Radio France Internationale and Colombia’s RCN Radio, and Jorge Perez Valery of Colombian network Red Mas sounded the alarm on Twitter after being detained near leftist President Nicolas Maduro’s offices.

The national journalists’ union, SNTP, said the reporters had been taken to military intelligence headquarters.

It said they were accused of recording in a “presidential corridor” and demanded their immediate release.

The union’s secretary general, Marco Ruiz, later said the two reporters had been released after four hours in custody.

“It was an act of intimidation,” he wrote on Twitter.

Media rights groups frequently criticize Venezuela for violating the freedom of the press. One local group, Espacio Publico, registered 286 incidents last year, mainly in the form of intimidation and harassment.

Reporters Without Borders ranked the country 137th out of 180 last year on its worldwide press freedom index.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.