07 September 2012

IAPA rejects threats to journalists by Bolivian mayor

Aa
Miami (September 7, 2012)—Serious threats made publicly by the mayor of the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz to journalists and owners of the local newspaper El Deber were protested today by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which offered its solidarity with the paper.
$.-

Miami (September 7, 2012)—Serious threats made publicly by the mayor of the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz to journalists and owners of the local newspaper El Deber were protested today by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which offered its solidarity with the paper.

Percy Fernández, the Santa Cruz mayor, issued the threat in a speech he gave on Saturday (September 1) at the start of celebrations in the eastern Bolivian city and province.

“That little rag is not going to touch my speech, nor is the family that runs it. And I hate them, but I’m not going to say so, I’d look bad if I do. One day we will talk face to face with the Rivero Jordán family, with the El Deber journalists … we will knock them down one day. That’s a promise from the Santa Cruz Mayor …. I don’t know if they are going to go directly two meters underground or if they will only go home, but something its going to happen to them, no? they shouldn’t cry, this is not a threat, it is just conversation, nothing else,” said Fernández, who has accused the newspaper of carrying out a plan to destabilize his term in office.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, rejected and condemned the official’s threats, declaring, “the mayor’s speech turned into a public verbal attack that goes against the function and vision of tolerance and respect that a government official should display.”

Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “Because of their role as public persons officials should be more tolerant of criticism” and he warned that in this case the mayor would be answerable under the law for justifying violence.

The Bolivian National Press Association recalled in a press release rejecting the threats that in the past two years three formal complaints had been filed against the mayor alleging aggression and declaring that “his actions went completely unpunished.” Local media also have stated that Fernández has maintained an attitude of confrontation with the press.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.

Share

0