Normally the International Federation of Journalists is — how shall I put this — a bit soft on populist/leftist governments. Never to an extent that the IFJ actually threw press freedom under the bus but some times it seemed the IFJ rationalized actions that most American journalists would find questionable.
But today, the IFJ made if clear that Hugo Chavez is no friend of free media. (IFJ Says Chavez “War on Media” Is Disastrous for Democracy in Venezuela)
When a coup against Chavez occurred and failed in 2002, the IFJ was critical of the unprofessional nature of the media at the time. Of course, at the time the main media outlets were run by supporters of the coup. And the way the media practitioners acted back then would make any ethical journalist upset. But the IFJ was not equally critical of the anti-free press attitude of Chavez at the time. (Yes, they were critical but that criticism was blunted by their complaints against the media outlet owners.)
The latest statement is the latest in a series of complaints by the IFJ and other international journalism groups over the past couple of years about the anti-free press attitude of Chavez.
Now only die-hard leftist organizations with little pretense of support for democracy or free-media principles support the actions of Hugo Chavez.
It will be interesting to see what the IFJ regional meeting in Brasilia will have to say about the situation. (Many of the Brazilian journalists are REALLY upset with what is going on in Venezuela. Hopefully that will lead to new steps by the regional and international free journalism community to pressure Chavez to end his growing dictatorial ways.)