A Bolivian journalist was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for defamation stemming from a article that linked a lawyer linked with corruption, reported the newspaper La Razón. This is the first criminal sentence against a reporter in Bolivia since 1997, added the news agency EFE.
Journalist Rogelio Peláez published an article in the newspaper Larga Vista accusing lawyer Waldo Molina of collecting excessive fees while working under Evo Morales' government on a court case during 2010, said the news agency UPI.
"Penalizing press crimes is a form of censorship or self-censorship for journalists that deal with cases that are of public interest, such as this case,” said Reporters Without Borders, who called the sentence "abusive" and "counterproductive."
Peláez told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that although the lawyer denied the accusations, his investigation was well documented. The news site Eju TV reported that the lawyer admitted charging $464,000 “for fees of ex-officials of the Supplementary Fund of Public Administration.”