Bolivia ends comment phase for controversial anti-racism law

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  • November 22, 2010

By Maira Magro

The Bolivian government has finished a series of public debates in nine regions of the country to discuss how the new anti-racism law will be enforced, Prensa Latina reports. According to Los Tiempos, the rules should be ready before the end of the year.

The new law is controversial, because it includes punishments for journalists and media outlets that express ideas that are considered discriminatory, and press groups say it threatens free expression.

The La Paz Press Workers Association suggested that an interviewee who expresses racist ideas should be responsible under the law, and not the journalist or media outlet that publishes their commentary. The group also suggested that any funds raised from fines against media should go into a fund for media workers. The La Paz Journalists Association has launched a “Platform for Journalists against Racism,” which supports different levels of punishments for media outlets, based on the type of crime committed and the company’s assets.

Navanethem Pillay, the high commissioner for human rights at the UN, advised media groups to play a part in the comment period, but organizations like the National Press Association refused to participate in the process, saying their presence would mean they endorse the parts of the law they oppose.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.