07 April 2008

IAPA condemns murder of journalist in Bolivia


IAPA condemns murder of journalist in Bolivia and demands immediate government action and safeguards


Miami (April 7, 2008)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder in Bolivia of journalist Carlos Quispe Quispe, dead after being severely beaten.  The organization called on government officials to take immediate steps to bring the guilty to justice and guarantee the safety of those working for the press.


Quispe, a reporter with Radio Municipal in Pucarani (30 miles west of Bolivia’s capital, La Paz) was attacked, beaten and left unconscious by assailants believed to be political opponents of city mayor, Alejandro Mamani, and allegedly the same aggressor responsible for a March 27 attack on the radio station where Quispe worked.  Quispe died in a La Paz hospital two days after the second attack.


Gonzalo Marroquín, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, urged Bolivian authorities to “investigate and bring the full weight of the law to bear on those involved in the murder” and called for guarantees to be put in place for the safe practice of journalism in the country.


Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, cited claims contained in the report on the state of freedom of the press in Bolivia presented during the IAPA’s Midyear Meeting held in Caracas, Venezuela, last week. The document detailed attacks, threats and verbal assaults on news media and individual journalists.


Press freedom oversight organizations in Bolivia, among them the National Press Association, reported that Quispe’s aggressors had set fire to and destroyed much of the radio station equipment, including the transmission tower. Earlier the same day the same group had attacked the mayor’s office, the report said.