The government restricted press freedom with enactment of the Law on the Fight Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination, which contains two clauses violating that right. The press and the news media generally are being harassed by judges and public prosecutors amid a climate of physical and verbal attacks by official agencies and organizations criticizing the government for its mistaken economic policies. In a document issued on November 16 the leading press organizations – National Press Association, National Association of Journalists, Bolivian Broadcasters Association, Press Workers of Bolivia Labor Confederation – complained that freedom of expression was being violated by the anti-racism law. It sets penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and suspension of media operating licenses in the event of engaging in racism or discrimination, under terms of clauses 16 and 23. The organizations rejected an invitation by the United Nations representative in Bolivia, Yoriko Yasukawa, to take part in the drafting of the law, feeling that their support for it was being sought. The government issued regulations governing the law on January 5. They maintain the penalties for journalists, stipulate that media licenses can be suspended for 150 to 360 days, and require newspapers to publish free of charge up to one page a month containing educational information about racism and discrimination. Radio stations must devote a minimum of 40 minutes a month and television stations 20 minutes to educational content at prime time. There have so far been no legal proceedings due to the fact that the committee that is supposed to handle alleged contraventions has not yet been set up. The possibility is not discarded that the penalties could be applied for breaches of the law committed from January 5, 2011 onwards. The press organizations, in an attempt to overturn the law’s clauses 16 and 23, gathered signatures of members of the public throughout the country and on November 30 presented to the legislature a constitutional request known as a Citizen Legislative Initiative to restore freedom of expression. Congress speaker and national vice president Álvaro García responded that such a request could not be considered because there was no legislation regulating the right to any Citizen Legislative Initiative. Bolivia’s President Evo Morales accused those supporting the press with their signatures for the repeal of the anti-racist law’s Clause 16 and amendment of its Clause 23 of being “racists” and said on November 23 that the best opposition the government has are the news media. On January 6 one of the journalists most critical of the government, Humberto Vacaflor, was accused by President Morales of being “a liar.” On February 10 journalist Carlos Valverde complained of being a victim of discrimination in the placement of official advertising, a common practice of the federal government and state and municipal governments. Physical attacks on journalists intensified in Cochabamba, where they were assaulted following parades and demonstrations by drivers and landholders. The harassment of journalists and news media by judges and public prosecutors has become another form of intimidation. On January 18 television reporter John Arandia was ordered by public prosecutor Marcelo Sosa to reveal the identity of the source who had given him a video showing alleged payment of a government bribe to a key witness in a terrorism case. On February 9 General José Antonio Ágreda Mendívil, the Army’s second in command, filed a lawsuit against Judge Omar Dorado for having thrown out a contempt case brought against the newspaper El Deber for lack of jurisdiction, due to the Press Law being in force. The general was seeking a large amount of damages over a comic strip in which it was hinted, without mentioning names, that he was involved in money laundering. On March 11 journalist Mario Caro Martínez was accused by the Attorney General’s Office of contempt, having claimed that the Potosí state government’s Minister for the Environment, Felipe Castro, had been fired from an earlier post for alleged sexual harassment. On March 15 the new Bolivian police chief, Curo Farfán, began legal proceedings against journalist Amalia Pando for having allowed in her radio program a third party to accuse him of abuse of power. The frequent allusions to the press by President Morales and his Government Minister Sacha Llorenti and Finance Minister Luis Arce, claiming that the press is responsible for the generation of conflicts, an increase in the prices of primary goods and a food shortage, have been characterized by the Bolivian National Press Association as a campaign to discredit the media. Seen with concern is a draft Law on Access to Public Information, introduced in the Chamber of Deputies in August last year by the Ministry of Transparency and Anti-Corruption Battle, and which is not scheduled to come up for debate there this year. Also not scheduled is any discussion of legislation regulating the constitutional right to a Citizen Legislative Initiative. Despite the repeated public requests by the Bolivian National Press Association and the IAPA, the authorities have done nothing to solve the murder of journalist Carlos Quispe Quispe, committed on March 2, 2008 when he was beaten up in the Andean town of Pucarani. A mob supporting the governing Socialism Movement (MAS) and opposing the town’s mayor burst into the radio station in the mayor’s office and thrashed Quispe, who died in a La Paz hospital four days later.