Ex-official threatens to sue Bolivian columnist for defamation

In Bolivia, the ex-head of the Public Works, Services, and Housing deparment Walter Delgadillo, threatened to sue a columnist for libel and defamation if the journalist does not apologize, reported the newspaper Opinión.

Delgadillo wrote a letter to the newspaper Los Tiempos complaining that a column by Alfonso Prudencio Claure, known in Bolivia as Paulovich, that alleged Delgadillo's abuse of public funds, was “vile defamation.” “For this, Mr. Paulovich should retract his unfounded accusations and apologize publicly. If he doesn't do so, I will be obligated to initiate a lawsuit against him for defamation," said Delgadillo in the letter.

According to the ANF news agnecy, Roger Pinto, the Head of the National Convergence Caucus, said that he was concerned that Delgadillo would initiate a lawsuit similar to that against the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo, in which president Rafael Correa sued the newspaper for moral damages and won the case which sentenced the defendants to pay a fee of $40 million and to serve three years in jail. Days later, the sentence was commuted by President Correa, after having prompted international criticism.

Pinto said that this type of threat is “an attack against freedom of expression and the press,” reported ANF.