Journalists criticize press restrictions on Bolivia's first judicial elections

Bolivia’s National Association of the Press denounced restrictions from a new campaign rule, saying the regulation impeded journalists’ ability to effectively cover the Andean country’s first judicial elections held Oct. 16, reported IFEX.

Among the restrictions, journalists could not interview the 118 candidates and had to request special petitions survey people outside the polls

The right to access information, and liberty have been severely injured by this first experience with judicial elections in Bolivia,” the international organization stated.

“These restrictions to information effected the citizens who did not know how to vote since most of the judicial candidates were previously unknown,” reported the secretary of the Federation of Santa Cruz Press Workers, Roberto Carlos Hurtado.

La Opinión de Cochabamba opined that several of the candidates violated the new campaign rules.

In July, several press-worker organizations condemned the approval of the “Regulation of the special campaign publicity regime for the judiciary and Court of the Pluri-national Constitution,” calling it unconstitutional.

According to the regulation, the following is prohibited:

-Interviewing candidates individually. The media should interview all candidates at a press conference with 48 hours notice.

-Communicating any information that might support or hinder a candidate.

-Allowing one or more candidates to speak on a radio or television program.

-Allowing a candidate to express an opinion in print media.

-Releasing the results of pre-election surveys on how people intend to vote.