Bolivian city’s government suspends ads on local newspaper in apparent reprisal over video

The government of Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra canceled the ads that usually run in local newspaper El Deber after the latter published in its website a video that shows the city's mayor Percy Fernández Áñez touching the leg of a journalist sitting next to him, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) said last week.

El Deber also denounced having been threatened by public officials close to Fernández's administration as part of an intimidation campaign against it.

The government of Santa Cruz de la Sierra canceled all the ads -- and left the paper without the financial support of that revenue -- a week after El Deber published a video that showed Fernández  inappropriately touching the leg of journalist Mercedes Guzmán, with Bolivia's TV channel Red UNO.

Claudio Paolillo, president of IAPA's Freedom of the Press and Information Commission, condemned the threats and the local government's retaliatory actions against the newspaper.

Paolillo cited principles 4, 7 and 10 of the Declaration of Chapultepec, which determine that the pressures against media outlets restrict freedom of expression and of the press, and that the placement or suspension of official advertising should not be used to reward or punish the media or journalists.

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.

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