Venezuela to sue over fake photo of Chávez
Venezuela will sue the Spanish newspaper El País after it published a false photograph of President Hugo Chávez on its front page on Thursday, amid growing uncertainty about the condition of the Opec nation’s leader.
Ernesto Villegas, information minister, said the government would take the “necessary” legal action after the “meagre” apology issued by El País, describing the image of a shaven-headed man on a hospital bed with tubes wedged into his mouth as “grotesque”.
“It violated all the codes of ethical journalism,” said Mr Villegas, who was previously editor of a state-financed newspaper. He said there was an international conspiracy to vilify Venezuela’s socialist government.
Mr Chávez’s exact condition remains unknown and rumours are running wild in Venezuela, given that he has not been seen since he arrived in Cuba for his fourth cancer operation on December 11th. The government says he is recovering, with Mr Villegas saying he should be back within “weeks”.
The move against El País comes shortly after Human Rights Watch, a US-based human rights group, urged the Venezuelan government this month to end the censorship of media that challenge the official line on the president’s health. – (Copyright The Financial Times Limited)