By Maira Magro
The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, said he could not meet with a delegation from the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) that arrived in the country Monday, Oct. 18, to discuss the controversial anti-racism law that recently was approved, according to the newspaper La Prensa. Morales said his schedule was full and that he had to travel to Peru for a meeting with President Alan García, according to Prensa Latina.
Prensa Libre reported that the IAPA representatives lamented that other government authorities also refused to meet with them. The point of their mission is to discuss two controversial articles of the new anti-racism law that threaten freedom of expression with anticipated media closures and prison sentences for journalists who publish ideas considered to be racist or discriminatory.
Morales insisted that press freedom is respected in Bolivia, reported the newspaper Los Tiempos, and he said that IAPA representatives would have left any meeting embarrassed, especially after being informed about the behavior of some media during conflicts in the city of Sucre in May 2008 when indigenous peasants were attacked and humiliated.
So far, Bolivian journalists have collected more than 267,000 signatures for a referendum to annul the two controversial articles of the anti-racism law, according to La Prensa.
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.