Report to the IAPA 77th General Assembly Virtual

October 19 – 22, 2021

During this period, the governing party - Movimiento al Socialismo - promoted a law to remove the secrecy of the journalistic source. The measure - currently pending in the Legislative Assembly - is contained in the bill Against the Legitimization of Illicit Gains, Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction or Non-Conventional Weapons.

The pro-government legislators encourage requiring professionals of all sectors - including journalists - to renounce professional secrecy. Journalists would be forced to reveal the source of their investigations at the simple request of a financial authority.

The National Press Association (ANP) and other journalistic organizations warned about the risk of losing the protection of professional secrecy established in international standards, the Constitution and the Print Law.

Another bill assigns the National Statistics Institute (INE) the authority to obtain and centralize data of all natural and legal persons, including non-governmental organizations, foundations, religious entities, international organizations and cooperation agencies.

Civil organizations were concerned that this law could restrict access to information by granting a government entity the power to decide what data may or may not be disclosed - in violation of Article 21 of the Constitution.

In July, the Attorney General's Office summoned two radio directors and two reporters from the Yungas region to appear in court in order to clarify the death of a policeman during confrontations with coca leaf growers. They were not witnesses to the crime.

On September 21, journalist Carlos Quisbert - who was covering a confrontation between coca leaf growers and police in the city of La Paz - was knocked down by a riot police officer and, upon his protest, was beaten by seven police officers. He was arrested, handcuffed and sprayed with tear gas inside a police vehicle.

After his release, he was re-arrested and a prosecutor opened a case against him. He was released five hours later as a result of pressure and protests from his colleagues.