By Maira Magro
The Bolivian government has rejected a proposal to modify two controversial parts of the recently passed anti-racism law that critics say violate freedom of expression, Los Tiempos reports. The petition was written by four press groups who gathered at least 32,000 signatures in support of reforming the law.
Vice-President Álvaro García Linera gave the documents back to the campaigners and said there are no laws allowing popular initiatives in Bolivia, La Prensa explains.
President Evo Morales has accused the journalists and media outlets behind the proposal of “tricking and lying to the public” about the signature-gathering process. The leader said that the government only received 32,000 signatures and not the 800,000 that the campaigners had previously claimed. Morales also said the 32,000 who signed the proposal were “racist,” El Mundo adds.
The organizers behind the initiative said the signatures they turned in with the proposal were merely a representative selection of the hundreds of thousands they gathered. In a statement, they called on the National Assembly to analyze their reform bill and not ignore their demands.
The petition campaign was organized by National Press Association of Bolivia, the Trade Union of Press Workers, the La Paz Press Workers' Association, and the Bolivian Broadcasters’ Association.
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.