Bolivia's new electoral law criticized for restricting freedom of expression

By Ingrid Bachmann

President Evo Morales enacted an electoral law that is drawing criticism from the opposition and the press for being a gag for the media during election times, reported La Razón.

The new rule applies to elections, referendums and local propositions; limits the publication of surveys/polls; and prohibits the dissemination of partial election results, explained the agency DPA.

It also provides for monitoring the information disseminated in the national media and bars the media from disclosing "documents other than those produced by the Electoral Body," added Los Tiempos.

These restrictions have led the opposition and labor unions to characterize the new law as a deathblow for freedom of expression. In the words of an opposition Congressman, "there is a vicious monitoring of the media," resulting in the media being subject to criminal penalties during election periods, added FM Bolivia.

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.