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Television station condemns harassment of journalist following series of reports on public security issues

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 17 June 2009, the Bolivian Television Network Unitel stated in a communiqué that journalist and news presenter Jimena Antelo Telchi was harassed on 11 June by five men who said they were police officers. The station believes the harassment was linked to a series of reports it broadcast on the lack of public security in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, eastern Bolivia.

According to the communiqué, the five unidentified men, who were dressed in civilian clothing, approached the journalist as she was about to get into her car and said they were police officers but failed to show her any identification. The men videotaped her with a mobile phone camera and accused her of driving a stolen car. At the time of the incident, the journalist thought they were thieves and, after struggling with one of them, managed to get into her car and flee.

On 12 June, police officer Gerson Arrázola Patiño went to the Public Prosecutor's Office and accused Antelo Telchi of injuring him with her vehicle. This accusation led the television station to conclude that Arrázola was one of the five men who harassed Antelo Telchi. Arrázola said he had to take bed rest because of his injuries but was videotaped working at his normal duties the next day.

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