Bolivian press says final anti-racism law softens penalties for media

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  • December 30, 2010

By Maira Magro

Bolivia has finalized the rules governing its new "Law to Fight against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination", and the final bill will be enacted by decree on Jan. 8 by President Evo Morales, Los Tiempos reports.

According to the paper, the text – which was leaked to several media outlets – gives the government the power to fine and/or suspend media outlets for up to 360 days if they are shown to have published or broadcast racist ideas. However, the final version of the law does not punish media outlets with permanent closure, as the original bill stipulated, La Razón explains.

Additionally, media companies will not be penalized for airing statements from third parties that include racist comments or for reporting on or discussing news related to racism. Bolivian journalists lobbied intensely for these changes, however groups like the La Paz Journalists’ Association and the Bolivian Press Workers’ Confederation continue to be critical of the anti-racism law.

The final version of the rules say media outlets must grant preferential spaces or scheduling to anti-racism educational content for at least 20 minutes a month for TV stations, 40 minutes for radio stations, one page a month for newspapers and magazine, and a monthly “space” on digital newspapers and websites.

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.