Bolivia

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Report to the Midyear Meeting
April 20-23, 2021
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Traits of disturbing violence in attacks on journalists and the passive attitude of authorities in charge of safeguarding justice and respect for press freedom characterize this period.

The government concentrated on setting up a campaign aimed at showing that a coup d'état had taken place in the country during the days of popular unrest to protest the fraud in the general elections of October 2019 - which ended up in the resignation of President Evo Morales.

Journalists and independent media that reported and documented the events that took place between October and November, 2019 suffer verbal attacks and harassment by state-owned and pro-government media - disqualifying their journalistic work, which by all accounts meets professional standards.

They are also attacked by followers of the ruling party via anonymous accounts in social networks - which are used to launch unfounded accusations.

In the midst of the pandemic, the National Press Association (ANP) -which includes newspapers- called for respecting the right to information through biosecurity measures. It defended the health of journalists, health care and public safety personnel.

A conflict between coca leaf growers in the Yungas area of the department of La Paz led to violence and affected radio and television reporters.

On January 7, 2021, press teams from television channels covering the clashes between two factions were attacked with dynamite blasts - although no personal injuries were reported.

Another reporter, Franklin Guzmán - from Radioemisoras de los Yungas - was detained on March 30 by passenger transport drivers, tied to a pole and stripped of his cell phone.

On April 5, journalist Cristian David Canacana reported that an anti-riot police officer discharged a tear gas projectile to his face - wounding him in the upper lip. The incident occurred in the midst of protests by coca leaf growers. The government did not issue any statement regarding these allegations.

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