BOLIVIA: INSTITUTIONAL VIOLENCE AND ATTACKS ON JOURNALISM
The coup carried out in Bolivia and the consequent campaign of intimidation against local and foreign media are the facts that motivate this open letter.
Bolivia's constitutional order was thrown in to chaos in November 2019 following weeks of violent protests across the country against the re-election of Evo Morales. The former president was forced to resign after losing the support of the armed forces and the police and being exposed to national and international pressures to do so.
Since then, the authorities have waged a campaign of harassment and intimidation against political and trade union leaders as well as journalists and communicators.
Violence against journalists and the media is on the rise. The situation faced by community media is especially critical. Community Media, which is in many cases representative of indigenous communities or local grassroots organizations, are being attacked by state or paramilitary authorities due to their editorial independence.
Radio Kawsachun Coca’s transmitter was taken from its station and its offices were set on fire. Another attack took place against Radio Comunidad, which is supported by the Bolivian Confederation of Rural Workers (CSUTCB), and whose director José Aramayo was kidnapped.
The same applies to the public media, which has been co-opted by the self-proclaimed government. In both Bolivia TV and the radio station Red Patria Nueva, many of their workers were violently stripped by opposition groups and forced to resign from their jobs. Although they did not accuse the government of being directly responsible, the lack of governmental reaction evidences the origin of these groups.
In addition to this, the self-proclaimed government accepts as valid voices only those media who reproduce their political positions. Thanks to this logic, Latin American networks such as Telesur or the Russian international television channel, Russia Today have been banned.
Given this situation of persecution and violence against journalists and the media, the International Federation of Journalists and the Federation of Journalists of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirm that freedom of expression and thought are not and cannot be synonymous with terrorism and sedition. On the contrary, they constitute fundamental human rights that must be always guaranteed by every government.
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS (IFJ)
FEDERATION OF JOURNALISTS OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (FEPALC)
Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú (ANP)
Federação Nacional de Jornalistas (FENAJ)
Sindicato Nacional de Periodistas (SNP, Panamá)
Sindicato Nacional de Periodistas (SNP, Costa Rica)
Asociación de Prensa Hondureña (APH)
Asociación de la Prensa Uruguaya (APU)
Asociación de Periodistas de El Salvador (APES)
Federación Nacional de Periodistas del Ecuador (FENAPE)
Union de Periodistas,Artes Gráficas y Ramas Anx. (UPAGRA, Pto.Rico)
Sindicato Nacional de Redactores de la Prensa (SNRP, México)
Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay (SPP)
Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa (SNTP, Rep. Dominicana)
Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Prensa (SITINPRES, Honduras)
Sindicato de Prensa de Buenos Aires