BOLIVIA Unfettered by the government, Bolivian news media widely reported on social unrest rocking the country in recent weeks. There were isolated incidents of peasants hurling rocks at some journalists and their vehicles, as was the case of El Diario de La Paz. The crisis compelled newspapers to reduce their circulation because imported supplies were stuck at the border, unable to be transported to the dailies’ warehouses. Because of this, the press had to turn to those who had supplies in stock at prices far higher than their international level. In addition, material had to be flown by plane for example from La Paz to Cochabamba, for use by the newspaper Los Tiempos. On April 1, various La Paz news organizations successfully protested a ban, instituted by then Information Minister Ronald McLean, on other Cabinet ministers barring statements to the press at the presidential palace. The measure was later revoked. On April 8, the government decreed a state of siege, an extraordinary measure which resulted in the Bolivian Army cutting electricity to broadcasters, a measure that pulled radio and TV stations off the air for more than three hours. On April 9, military personnel threatened employees at three radio stations and suspended their broadcasts. The stations ― Chaka of Pucarani, Ondas del Titicaca of Huarina and Omasuyos of Achacachi ― were jointly broadcasting news on violence in the area around Lake Titicaca. On April 10, the Canal 39 television station broadcast footage, shot by its correspondent in Cochabamba, showing a plainclothes military sniper acting to repress demonstrators. From that day on, the journalists from that television station have received telephoned death threats. On April 14, a reporter for the La Paz newspaper La Presencia received telephoned threats including a false bomb threat. In June, a journalist from the town of Villamontes, Esteban Farfán Romero, was attacked by local city councilman José Bleichner On June 11, journalist Ronald Méndez Alpire, author of several investigations into corruption in Bolivia, was shot twice in the leg by an unidentified gunman in the city of Santa Cruz. There have been no arrests and the police have reported no progress in the investigation. On August 6, the editor of the La Paz daily La Razón, published a page one letter to the president headlined “Time is running short, Mr. President,” in which the writer reflected on the country’s economic, social and political situation. Government Information Minister Manfredo Kempff called the letter “unusual, arrogant and untimely.” He added, “The press exists to criticize and provide advice and guidance, but not to dictate norms or try to say how one should govern.” In response, La Razón’s lead editorial on August 9 said, “Minister Kempff is mistaken in equating the initiative of this news organization with that of a political party. This daily seeks only to serve the community and the country in the best possible way. That is why we have conveyed part of the general restlessness.”