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Journalist says he is receiving threats that are related to his work; minister's bodyguard assaults reporter

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 22 July 2009, John Arandia, a reporter and television host for Red Uno, said that for several months he has been the victim of anonymous threats related to his work as a journalist. The journalist works in La Paz, Bolivia's capital.

Arandia, who hosts the program "Que no me pierda", in which he analyses and conducts interviews on the political situation in the country, reported that his car has been scratched and its tires punctured several times. He also reported that he has received two text messages on his mobile phone saying: "shut up idiot" and "we know your children's whereabouts".

The journalist thinks that the threats come from various political sectors that are interested in negatively impacting his work.

In a separate incident, also on 22 July, journalist Juan Carlos Soto, who works for the San Miguel radio station, which is part of the ERBOL network, reported that he was insulted and struck by a security guard for Presidency Minister Juan Manuel Quintana when he was covering a visit by Quintana to the village of Riberalta, in the department of Beni.

Soto was attempting to interview Quintana when one of the security guards insulted him and then hit him in the face to prevent him from approaching the minister.

After the incident Quintana reprimanded the security guard, but the guard did not apologise and instead denied that anything had happened.

Quintana had intended to hold a meeting behind closed doors with sugarcane harvesters. Their leaders, however, insisted that the press should be allowed in. According to the journalists, this annoyed the minister's staff, who took pictures of the camera operators and reporters who were allowed into the room where the meeting was held.

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