28 August 2015

Economic pressure by Bolivian government brings IAPA protest

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MIAMI, Florida (August 28, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today criticized the government of Bolivia for using official advertising as a tool to put pressure on news media, in particular those that criticize the South American country’s president, Evo Morales.
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MIAMI, Florida (August 28, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today criticized the government of Bolivia for using official advertising as a tool to put pressure on news media, in particular those that criticize the South American country’s president, Evo Morales.

On this occasion the IAPA criticized discrimination levied against the Catholic radio network Erbol, which is facing a serious financial situation after the government denied it official advertising, punishing it for its critical and independent editorial stance. It complained that several of its private sector advertisers had stopped advertising out of fear of reprisals from the government.

Erbol recently opened a bank account to raise funds and thus alleviate the lack of advertising revenue. However, the Ministry of Works reacted with threats to contributors. On its Web site the Ministry warned that those contributing to the campaign would be subjected to controls on “money laundering and financing terrorism,” arguing that such contribution was “an act of confrontation” that sought to apply “soft blows” against the government.

IAPA President Gustavo Mohme called on the government of President Evo Morales “to stop using official advertising as a means of reward or punishment.” Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “Press freedom requires there to be transparency and clear rules and the use of use of equitable methods and techniques for the application of public resources in the investment of official advertising.”

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, described as “misappropriation of public funds and an abuse of political power the arbitrary discrimination in the placement of official advertising.” Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said that “this case moreover has the aggravating circumstance that the government is threatening with reprisals anyone who voluntarily wishes to support a fundraising campaign.”

Both the IAPA and Bolivia’s National Press Association (ANP) have been denouncing that in recent years there has been an increase in the policy of discrimination in the placement of official advertising, violating principles of the Declaration of Chapultepec and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression.

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.

       

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