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As protests continue, ANP condemns attacks on free expression and calls for calm

(ANP/IFEX) - 26 June 2012 - The National Press Association (Asociación Nacional de la Prensa, ANP) is calling for the restoration for calm in the country and appeals for a dialogue between the conflicting parties in order to prevent further violence and diffuse the tense situation.

ANP is particularly concerned about the conflict resulting from recent protests by Bolivian police officers striking for higher pay. We lament the fact that amidst these protests there have been attacks on freedom of expression and the press and against journalists and media outlets.

We firmly condemn a dynamite attack which silenced Radioemisoras Bolivia, at dawn on Tuesday 26 June in the city of Oruro, and call for a prompt investigation to ensure that those who carried out the attack and those who are behind it will not go unpunished, thus fomenting the climate of impunity that those who have carried out similar attacks in recent years have benefitted from.

We also condemn the attack on 15 camera operators and journalists of the state TV channel in the cities of La Paz, Cobija, Trinidad and Santa Cruz de la Sierra, who were mistaken for "spies" while they were covering the police conflict.

According to some television and radio broadcasters, certain individuals who are not linked to the media have infiltrated the press in order to video record some of the scenes of confrontation. It is not clear to what end these recordings will be used but ANP is concerned about this interference in the media's work and any possible negative implications this may have for members of the press.

ANP also condemns the beating of Helen San Román, a journalist for Radio Patria Nueva, on Monday 26 June, while she was covering events in the Plaza Murillo area of La Paz; and the physical assault of journalist Irene Tórrez, of the Red PAT network, while she was covering the police conflict in the city of Oruro.

Given the recent dangers journalists have faced, ANP calls for respect for the press and guarantees to ensure that violent attacks against media professionals are prevented as these individuals are carrying out the key task of informing the public, a societal value that is recognised by the Constitution.

Marco Antonio Dipp Mukled

Juan León Cornejo
Executive Director
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