Defamation charges brought against columnist

APRIL 8, 2006
Posted April 13, 2006

Julio Balza, El Nuevo País

Agents from the attorney general’s office brought Balza, a columnist for the Caracas-based daily El Nuevo País, before a judge on criminal defamation and slander charges.

The charges were brought by the Minister of Infrastructure Ramón Carrizalez. The attorney general’s office claimed Balza failed to appear for earlier scheduled court dates, but the journalist insisted that he had never received a summons. The Caracas Ninth Tribunal set an April 25 trial date.

Carrizalez sued Balza in early March after the journalist called him “unable and inept” in a column about the February collapse of a viaduct, Balza’s lawyer, Hugo Albarrán, told CPJ.