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Journalists, media outlets harassed, threatened during protests in Cobija and Sucre

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 27 November 2007, supporters of a regional prefect who oppose the national government threatened journalists of the radio stations Digital and Pando for reporting negatively about the regional strike they organized, which began that day in the town of Cobija, northern Bolivia, according to information provided by the Governmental News Agency (Agencia Gubernamental de Noticia, ABI). The demonstrators arrived at the headquarters of both stations in order to intimidate the journalists.

The director of Digital radio station, Norberto Lucana, reported that the station's headquarters was stoned and that the protest leaders threatened to tear down the transmission tower if the station continued to report critically about the protest, which was being held to express their opposition to the approval of the new Constitution.

Cobija is the capital of the department of Pando, which borders Brazil, and its local government is critical of the national government headed by President Evo Morales.

On 25 November, a group of reporters was attacked by a police squad while covering the protests against the approval of the new Constitution in the city of Sucre. Some took refuge in a private home, other in the headquarters of the Red Cross.

Among them were journalist Adriana Gutiérrez and camera operator Pablo Tudela, of the TV network PAT, AFP news agency photographer Aizar Raldes and reporters for the newspapers "La Razón" and "El Deber" and for the television networks ATB and UNO.

In another area of Sucre, photographer David Guzmán, of the newspaper "La Razón", stated that the police attempted to seize his camera and that university students attempted to assault him.

In addition, radio station ACLO, of the Erbol network, suspended its broadcasts for fear that demonstrators might invade its offices. The station has been identified as supportive of the national government. Its journalists fled to Potosí, a city near Sucre.

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