Bolivian government again calls CNN journalists to appear at trial in the case of alleged son of Evo Morales

Reporters from the international news network CNN en Español, Fernando del Rincón and Alexis Ardines were summoned again by the Bolivian public prosecutor to testify in the trial of the case of human trafficking concerning the former partner of President Evo Morales, Gabriela Zapata, as reported by Página Siete.

The former partner of the president, who faces several charges from prison, including illicit enrichment and influence peddling, is also accused by the prosecutor of having planned the impersonation of a supposed son she had with Morales, according to El Deber. The only evidence of a son is a birth certificate dated 2007.

According to Página Siete, Morales accused Mexican journalist del Rincón and CNN of politically conspiring against his government by interviewing the child who posed as his son, and not reporting it was an impostor. The interview never aired.

"I want to say that CNN anchor Fernando del Rincón and operators of this interview are co-authors of the crimes of public defense of a crime (...), conspiracy (...), concealment (...) and complicity," Morales said on June 30, according to Página Siete.

On the interview that CNN made with the alleged son of Morales and Zapata, material that the news channel never published, Rincón said that he interviewed several people in Bolivia as part of his journalistic investigation to see if the child was really the son of Morales. He added that he even formally requested an interview with the president but it was not granted.

"On my return (from Bolivia) and after a thorough analysis, we determined that there were not sufficient evidence to support the accusations nor physical evidence like DNA to rule out or confirm the existence of an alleged son of President Evo Morales, so in a responsible, ethical vertical and profesional act, totally contrary to conspiracy, the professional decision was to not broadcast those elements,” said Rincón, host of the program Conclusiones on CNN.

The first subpoena, which the journalists did not answer, was made on July 22.

"The prosecution has proceeded to issue subpoenas for both citizen journalists from CNN, they have been fulfilled according to our standards (...). They have been notified by email,” said prosecutor Susana Boyán according Página Siete.

Boyan, according to the publication, said the journalists are "obliged" to appear to testify.

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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