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Press Freedom Groups Condemn Murder of Venezuelan Newspaper VP


International press freedom groups are condemning the recent killing of a newspaper executive in Venezuela's capital, Caracas, and have urged authorities there to investigate the case to see if the killing was linked to his work.

Both Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued statements this week following the shooting death of Pierre Fould Gerges. He was vice president of the daily newspaper, Reporte Diario de la Economia, which had recently published stories about alleged corruption.

Gerges was driving his brother's car on the evening of June 2 when two gunmen on a motorcycle intercepted him and opened fire. He was killed instantly.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders says the attackers may have mistaken Gerges for his brother, Tannous, the newspaper's president, who had been receiving threats in recent months, mostly by e-mail. The group says one recent threat referred to a hit man who had recently been freed from prison.

The rights group says the Gerges family is now under police protection.

Separately, the New York-based CPJ says four journalists have been killed in Venezuela since 1992 as a result of their work. It says the local press has been subjected to repressive government measures and that photographers and reporters have been attacked during street protests.

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