Venezuelan authorities have detained five foreign journalists, including two working for France's "Quotidien" television show and one from Spain's EFE news agency. Two more, from Chile, have been deported while they were covering the standoff with opposition forces seeking the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.
France and Spain called on Venezuelan authorities on Thursday January 31st, to immediately release foreign journalists who have been detained as part of a crackdown on international media, AFP has reported.
French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said "We have been in contact with the Venezuelan authorities since the moment our nationals were arrested," and added "We are demanding their release and are doing everything possible to obtain that as early as possible."
In a statement, the Spanish foreign ministry said, "The government again asks the Venezuelan authorities to respect the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, of which freedom of the press is a central element."
Speaking at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in the Romanian capital Bucharest, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said that "our request is for them to be immediately released".
Without mentioning the latest arrests, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Wednesday January 30th that foreign reporters have entered the country without work permits.
Venezuela's political crisis intensified this month as national assembly speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president.
Protests against the Maduro government have left around 40 dead and 850 have been arrested since they started on January 21st, according to UN figures.