Bolivian journalists report first accusations based on new anti-racism law

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  • November 8, 2010

By Maira Magro

Bolivian journalists and news media say the controversial Law Against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination, which was sanctioned Oct. 8 to take effect next January, is already being applied.

In the first case, registered in Potosí (south), a deputy from President Evo Morales' socialist party says she will sue TV host José Luis Apacani for “harming the dignity of peasants and indigenous people for several years,” the newspapers Los Tiempos and El Día report. According to Los Tiempos, the deputy was offended recently by the phone call of a viewer who said local authorities had the “face of llamas.” The journalist argues that he interrupted the interview, but his station decided to suspend the program, the Página Siete site says.

In another case, local authorities in Oruro (southwest) said they will file criminal charges against the newspaper La Patria for calling local councilmen by another title, even though the newspaper has argued the two terms are synonymous. Even though the Anti-racism law has not been regulated, some government authorities say it can already be applied.

Journalists are not alone in dealing with interpretations of the new law. In another case, a deputy said he will process a colleague for his use of the term “old bald men.”

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.