Bolivian journalist called to testify on source of video evidence

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  • January 20, 2011

By Maira Magro

Bolivian prosecutor Marcelo Soza has ordered the media to reveal the source of a video in which a key witness in a terrorism investigation was allegedly paid to flee the country, Jornadanet reports.

“Those who received this video – I understand that they are journalists – must come forward and testify to the prosecution how they obtained that video, Soza said, quoted by La Razón.

According to Los Tiempos, journalist John Arandia, the host of a TV program on Cadena A, was the first called in to discuss a video that allegedly showed Ignacio Villa Vargas, known as “The Old Man,” receiving $30,000 from an individual the press identified as an ex government official.

Villa Vargas is a witness in an investigation into alleged terrorist activities by a separatist group in Santa Cruz department that is suspected of plotting to assassinate President Evo Morales, Jornadanet explains. Erbol reports that the witness was allegedly bribed by intelligence agents to flee the country after snitching on the separatists.

Journalism and industry associations have criticized Soza for calling the journalists to testify about their sources, arguing that it violates freedom of expression, the right to information, and source confidentiality.

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.