Venezuelan judge retracts ban on violent news photos

Violent photos were banned to protect children from psychological damage, but impeded freedom of the

Two days after ruling that news media should not publish "violent, bloody or grotesque" photographs for 30 days, a Venezuelan judge on Thursday retracted the ban, reports CNN.

The ban had been announced in response to a complaint by citizens against a front-page photograph - first published in the El Nacional newspaper - depicting dead bodies in a Caracas morgue. It was accompanied by a story on violent crime in the country.

The court had reasoned then that the ban aimed to prevent physical, psychological and moral harm to children and adolescents. But the order drew sharp criticism from international press freedom advocates.

The Venezuelan government has said that the morgue is in a much better condition than shown in the photo, which they claim was taken years ago. But El Nacional - a fierce critic of the government - asserted that the photo was taken in December last year.

President Hugo Chavez, who says violent crime in Venezuela is falling, has accused the opposition of trying to exaggerate the issue.