30 May 2009

Press freedom in Bolivia

Thanks once again to Otto at IKN for alerting us to the recent visit by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) to Bolivia.

We're always reading in the UK or the US or Spain that press freedom is worsening all the time in Latin America, with number one culprit being the Venezuelan 'dictator' Chavez. But of course, the other culprits are always our 'official' enemies, that is, regimes that won't allow our corporations to rape their lands and steal their natural resources.

Just back on 18 March, for example, Roy Greenslade (in his Guardian blog) had this to say:

"Freedom of the press has deteriorated in the Americas...according to the Inter American Press Association (IAPA)...

It accused Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez of "humiliating the press," and said his "incendiary rhetoric" has been adopted by other heads of state in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil and Argentina.

In Cuba, 26 journalists remain in prison, and the IAPA called on its president, Raul Castro, to "relax repression against liberty of expression."

The IAPA made these declarations at the closure of the association's mid-year meeting in Paraguay-their report is still not online at their website, although the 2008 is.

Morales was obviously getting pretty pissed off and on 23 March 2009 invited the IAPA to come to Bolivia to see for themselves.

This they have now done and as Otto's translation shows, the IAPA has now been able to ascertain "that press freedom exists in Bolivia. For all that one hears and sees, nobody here can say that there isn't an opposition press, that there is no criticism of the government. I think it's important to make this clear.""

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