24 June 2008

IAPA protests attacks on journalists, media in Mexico and Bolivia


Miami (June 24, 2008).- The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today voiced concern at the assault of a journalist in Mexico and attacks with explosives on radio and television stations in Bolivia, calling on the authorities of both countries to investigate the incidents immediately.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gonzalo Marroquín, alerted officials to “the urgent need to ensure the safety of news media and individual journalists so they can comply with their duty to inform the news” and urged them to carry out an immediate investigation into the attacks and bring justice to bear on those responsible.

One of the incidents occurred on the afternoon of June 21 in Nayarit, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, when the assistant editor of the local newspaper Noticias de la Bahía, Luis Pablo Guardado Negrete, was beaten and stabbed by two unidentified assailants in his office. He was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery for a fractured jaw and is now recovering from his injuries.

According to local news reports two attackers entered the newspaper office and approached Guardado Negrete about a car for sale. In reality, they were angered by a sexual assault story the newspaper had published and were there to beat him up, stab and nearly strangle him.  

Earlier the same day in Bolivia, on the eve of a referendum on proposed regional autonomy, an explosive device was aimed at privately-owned television station Canal 4-Unitel in Yacuiba, in the southern province of Tarija. The blast damaged the main door and windows of the building but there were no injuries. A soldier and 11 civilians were later arrested in connection with the incident and charged with terrorism, unlawful assembly and possession of explosives.

The previous day in Potosí, in southwestern Bolivia, radio station Radio Kollasuyo was attacked with explosives, leaving two workers there injured and the front of the building badly damaged. There were also reports of assaults on local journalists.