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RADIO JOURNALIST DIES AFTER ATTACK ON STATION

A journalist who got caught up in mob violence against a Bolivian radio station has died from his wounds, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and other press freedom groups.

Carlos Quispe Quispe, a journalist with Radio Municipal in Pucarani, near La Paz, was beaten and left unconscious when a group of residents who oppose the mayor attacked the station on 27 March, reports IFJ. Quispe died from his injuries two days later.

According to the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS), the group also set fire to the station's equipment and felled its transmission tower, forcing the station off the air.

The group, allegedly members of the municipal government's monitoring committees (comités de vigilancia) who have accused Mayor Alejandro Mamani of corruption, felt the station had been used by the mayor to defame them, says IFJ. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), witnesses identified Quispe as "the mouth on the radio." CPJ says Quispe often interviewed Mamani about government projects.

In a separate incident, two public broadcasting stations in Sucre, the country's constitutional capital, were targeted by more than 100 anti-government protesters on 25 March, report IPYS and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

A group of university students burst into the headquarters of Canal 7 Televisión Boliviana and Red Patria Nueva radio station and destroyed their equipment, forcing both media outlets to cancel their transmissions. According to RSF, they accused the stations of campaigning in favour of the new Constitution and against the region's claim for autonomy.

RSF hopes that an investigation into the attacks on Quispe and the stations will "persuade politicians to rein in their supporters in order to avoid chaos. This concerns above all certain opposition sectors whose intransigence is assuming dangerous proportions."

Visit these links:
- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/486unp
- IAPA: http://www.sipiapa.com/pressreleases/chronological.cfm
- IFJ: http://www.ifj.org/default.asp?Index=6021&Language=EN
- IPYS: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/92273/
- RSF on Quispe: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26491
- RSF on Sucre incidents: http://tinyurl.com/6op56u
(8 April 2008)

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