Eight months after President Evo Morales Ayma entered the presidential palace in La Paz, the stance taken by his populist administration toward the Bolivian press has created a climate of open hostility and growing tensions. If one thing characterized Bolivia throughout 24 years of democracy, it was the respect displayed by successive administrations for freedom of the press and freedom of speech. At least these constitutional rights had not been subjected to any major attacks or restrictions. The first troubling signs that relations between the government and the media could be headed for rocky times came from President Morales himself in his inaugural speech, when he harshly criticized the private television network Unitel, calling the owners “landowners” and representatives of the oligarchy that, according to him, opposes the revolutionary changes that his administration seeks to implement. Since then Morales has taken every opportunity to attack the Unitel’s reporting teams, including at public rallies, and this has placed the network’s reporters and cameramen at risk. In a recent interview with the Telesur network, Morales claimed that his administration is the victim of media terrorism, although he made no specific accusations. Meanwhile, Vice President Álvaro García Linera said that political and social changes are under systematic attack from media outlets controlled by the “oligarchy.” These statements have resonated among the so-called “social movements” that are pressuring the Constitutional Assembly deliberating in Sucre to draft a new constitution. Journalists there are working in a hostile environment in which they are continually insulted and threatened for representing what some consider the “bourgeois press” or “racist press.” The government is trying to set up its own media network with financial support from Venezuela. It has started five of 30 “community” radio stations in rural western Bolivia and seeks to start a television channel to generate “alternative news” in native communities. The events at state-owned Channel 7 are hardly surprising, as previous administrations had also used it as a government media outlet, along with the state-owned Bolivian News Agency (ABI). Much is being said about changes to the Press Law, which dates back to 1925. But it is troublesome that nothing is known about these changes, or about a bill reportedly submitted by the National Ethics Council and supported by various national journalists’ organizations. As part of a conflict in which the Bolivian Federation of Newspaper Vendors boycotted the distribution and sale of La Razón, some 200 newspaper employees—including reporters, office staff, photographers, and volunteers—took to the streets on Sunday, September 17 to sell the newspaper. They were assaulted by the vendors, and some had their copies of the newspaper taken from them. The lawsuit began in late August when the vendors’ union submitted a 10-point petition to the company demanding the “complete transfer of the company’s subscriptions to the vendors.” The petition is a document that is only applicable in an employee-employer relationship, as set forth in the General Labor Law. In another incident in mid-July, Mayor Percy Fernández of Santa Cruz de la Sierra publicly criticized and threatened journalists from the local newspaper El Deber. The mayor hinted that he would prevent the newspaper from reporting on his administration and that he would restrict the access and information granted to its reporters.