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Journalist receives anonymous death threat

(ANP/IFEX) - On 3 January 2010, journalist Carlos Torres, a correspondent for the Panamericana radio station in the southern Bolivian city of Sucre, received an anonymous death threat via a text message sent to his cellular phone. Torres told the ANP that the message said, "Death. If you continue to lie, saying that a million signatures have been collected, I'm going to pay someone (to take care of you). Be careful liar." According to Torres, the threat refers to a national campaign initiated by journalists to collect signatures calling for Articles 16 and 23 of the Law against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination to be annulled or modified. The two articles in question contain stipulations for penalties against media outlets and journalists, and restrict freedom of expression and freedom of the press, according to various journalism-oriented organisations.

It is believed that the message was sent from an Internet account since the sender's number was 991. Torres, who is also the secretary general of the Chuquisaca Press Workers' Union, said that since November 2010, when the campaign ended, he has not spoken publicly about the anti-discrimination law issue.

On 4 January, Torres filed a complaint about the threat with the police. He was told that an investigation would be opened if he receives more threats. Journalists' organisations have expressed their support for Torres, while the ANP characterised the threat as cowardly and called on the authorities to investigate the case and bring those behind the threat to justice.

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