Venezuelan court lets newspaper resume publishing

August 29, 2011 - 4:00 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A Venezuelan court on Monday lifted an order that had barred a weekly newspaper from being published, a lawyer for the paper said.

A judge had ordered the newspaper 6to Poder to temporarily stop publishing on Aug. 20 when an issue came out with a front-page photomontage ridiculing six high-ranking women officials and depicting them as cabaret dancers.

Lawyer Pedro Aranguren said the court lifted the order but also ordered the newspaper not to publish text or images that are insulting toward public officials or women. The newspaper will also be barred from referring to the case in print, he told The Associated Press by phone.

Aranguren said he believes the newspaper has not broken the law and that "every person who serves as a public authority should be subject to the criticism and scrutiny of the media."

Venezuela prosecutors and court officials did not immediately comment on the latest court decision.

The weekly landed in trouble when it published a photomontage referring to President Hugo "Chavez's women in power." It depicted the Supreme Court president, the elections chief and four other prominent women officials as cabaret dancers in revealing skirts and high heels.

An accompanying article promoted the view that various top officials who hold independent offices have become subordinated to Chavez.

Supreme Court President Luisa Estella Morales and other officials condemned the image and article as offensive to women and an attack on public institutions.

The paper's director, Dinora Giron, was arrested on Aug. 21 after the issue came out and was released two days later. She faces a pending investigation on criminal charges of insulting public officials, instigating hatred and publicly offending women.

The newspaper's editor, Leocenis Garcia, is also wanted on charges of insulting public officials and instigating hatred, Aranguren said. He said the cases against both Garcia and Giron are still pending.

The judge's order temporarily halting publication of 6to Poder, or Sixth Power, had been criticized as a violation of free speech by the Miami-based Inter American Press Association, which has often clashed with Chavez's government on issues relating to the news media.