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Open letter to foreign journalists covering Venezuela

By Aleksander Boyd

Caracas 21.11.06 | Dear foreign journalists, today I finally met some of you at the press conference. In the coming days you will have the huge responsibility of keeping the world up to speed about what's going in the presidential election of this country, a country whose society has welcomed you with open arms. I have taken issue with the innacurate and irresponsible manner in which some of you go about the journalistic business in the past and most certainly I will continue doing so. Today was a test, we were all in the same room and while you asked questions I was analysing your faces and every move to try and understand what moves some of you to lie with such gusto. I took the precaution of recording the whole session, which in practical terms means that if you lie or spin Rosales' speech and answers in any fashion I will be able to expose you as liars as I will do just now with Reuter's chief editor Saul Hudson.

Reuters' coverage of late has been an absolute disgrace, with the BBC and AP following a close second. It has printed official propaganda without even bothering in maintaining a semblance of objectivity. Case in point the poll that never was from the Complutense University of Madrid, which was reprinted many times around the globe. Venezuelans still wait an explanation and a clarification note.

Manuel Rosales gave a very straighforward answer today with regards to Chavez's polls, those that in Reuter's Saul Hudson's opinion give the incumbent a "30-odd points" lead. Saul Hudson, who I've been told used to cover Condoleeza Rice in DC, did not see fitting to include Rosales remarks about who commissions the polls that give Chavez such a lead in his piece. Hudson forgot to mention that all pollsters showing such a tendency have, oddly enough, been contracted by PDVSA, the Chavez administration or exhibit conflict of interests in one form or another. What a remarkable coincidence, isn't it? But it gets worse for Hudson includes the views of Luis Vicente Leon of Datanalisis but does not even mention other pollsters, such as Alfredo Keller. Is this a case of sloppy journalism or is Hudson out to advance an agenda?

I guess the point I am trying to get at is that this is not the time nor the place where political baggage can be thrusted upon impartiality, objectivity and accurate reporting. You are here to report what's going on, not to guise your political views as unbiased journalism. At the end of the day whatever perception you may have about Chavez or Rosales is utterly irrelevant and of no interest to anyone but yourselves. You are paid to report not to opine.

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