Bolivian media gathers support after libel suit
Journalists’ unions and media associations are calling for demonstrations this week in support of three news media (ANF, Página Siete and El Diario) which the government has accused of violating Law 045 on racism and all forms of discrimination.
Even though all three news outlets have made clear their rejection to the government’s accusations on their own websites (in Spanish), more support from independent media is coming their way.
Via El Diario:
In reaction [to the libel suit], the Bolivian independent press mobilized yesterday in the capital cities of the South and the Cochabamba departments. Meanwhile, other demonstrations were announced in Santa Cruz and La Paz (the nation’s capital) with the support of the Bolivian Confederation of Press Unions.
Reporters Without Borders is also being supportive:
The anti-racism law is being used to accuse the media of the same discriminatory attitude they accused the president of displaying. How can this charge stand, when it is based on such an absurd inversion of logic?
Even accepting that ANF, Página Siete and El Diario misquoted President Morales, they had every right to question the ill-conceived and clumsy nature of his comments. The government must withdraw its complaint or the prosecutor’s office must declare it to be inadmissible.
The proceedings initiated against these three news media have taken us back to the initial flaws in this law, one which nonetheless has every reason to be on Bolivia’s statute books.
Background: Law 045 on racism was promulgated in October 2010, prompted a great deal of concern among news organizations because of the poor wording of some of its articles (in Spanish).
Image: courtesy of El Diario.