Columnist convicted on criminal defamation charges

Updated: DECEMBER 15, 2006
Original Case: April 8, 2006

Julio Balza, El Nuevo País


The Caracas Sixth Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s conviction of Balza, a columnist for the Caracas-based daily El Nuevo País, on criminal defamation and slander charges.

Balza told CPJ that he would further appeal the ruling. He faces the possibility of prison. The trial court had sentenced Balza to two years and 11 months in prison and fined him the equivalent of 32,068,800 bolívares (US$14,945).

The charges stem from a February 2006 column in which Balza called then-Minister of Infrastructure Ramón Carrizalez “unable and inept” after the collapse of a viaduct, defense lawyer Hugo Albarrán told CPJ. Carrizalez sued Balza in March 2006.

For more information on this case, see: