Bolivian media groups celebrate plan to modify law restricting electoral coverage

Bolivian media outlets are applauding President Evo Morales’s plans to change a law that severely restricted coverage of judiciary elections, Bolivia’s National Press Association (ANP) reports via IFEX.

Morales has asked Congress to change Article 82 of the Electoral System Law, which bars judicial candidates from campaigning and media outlets from publishing any unofficial information about the election, Los Tiempos explains.

Media owners and press groups like the ANP, the National Bolivian Journalists’ Association (ANPB), the Association of Bolivian Broadcasters (ASBORA), and the La Paz Journalists’ Association (APLP) were among those that pressured the government to make the change. According to Jornadanet, the decision is an important step by the state towards recognizing the importance of freedom of expression for democracy in the county.

However, many of those who celebrated the ruling stressed that there are still many important freedom of expression restrictions in place, including provisions in the anti-racism law and a recent presidential decree ordering the media to be patriotic and support a land claim against Chile.

According to a separate ANP/IFEX report, Radio Panamericana director Daniel Sánchez said that “any initiative that calls for civic enthusiasm is good; however it should be voluntary.”

Other Related Headlines:
» Jornadanet (One doesn't impose patriotic fervor via decree)

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.