Protests continue as Bolivia discusses how anti-racism law will be enforced

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  • October 18, 2010

By Maira Magro

The government has begun to plan how it will regulate the new Anti-Racism Law, in spite of protests from press groups against two articles that could punish media outlets with closure and journalists with prison if they spread racist ideas, Jornadanet reports. The bill was signed into law last week, and the government has 90 days to make the regulatory changes necessary for the bill to be enforced.

The La Paz Journalists Association, the Press Worker Confederation, the National Press Association, and the Bolivian Broadcasters Association are refusing to participate in regulation talks as to not endorse the law and “consent to restrictions on freedom of expression and press freedom.” The Federation of La Paz Press Workers and social and community activists said that they will take part in the consultation process, La Razón explains.

As the process begin, journalists are marching in the streets with candles in a mock vigil for the death of press freedom. Reporters and media companies have also started a campaign to gather one million signatures against the two controversial articles. Their goal is to put those measures to a popular vote.

According to Europa Press, the Anti-Racism law is supported by Bolivia’s indigenous groups, unions, and human rights activists, the groups that are some of the government’s most consistent supporters.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has announced it is sending a delegation to the Bolivian capital next week to ask President Evo Morales to modify the law, EFE adds.

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.