In Bolivia, new report registers 46 assaults against journalists in 2011, instead of 200 as previously reported
On Tuesday, April 3, the National Press Association (ANP in Spanish) of Bolivia presented a report identifying 46 physical and verbal assaults on journalists and Bolivian media in 2011, in addition to “three detentions, one forced retreat, and the destruction of two news media outlets." The physical assaults increased from 13 to 19, compared to the year 2010, according to the report.
However, in February 2012, several news media outlets and journalist organizations reported that the ANP reported 200 assaults against journalists in Bolivia in 2011. Among these were the newspaper Página Siete, the Argentine newspaper La Capital, the radio station Radio FM Bolivia, the news channel Eju TV, and also prestigious organizations such as the International Freedom of Expression Exchange, and the International Press Institute.
However, the executive director of ANP, Juan León Cornejo, told the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas that the correct number for assaults against journalists in 2011 is 46 and that someone had erroneously reported in a newspaper that the number was 200. In 2011, the ANP “registered 119 alerts, of which 46 were assaults,” said Léon.
Nevertheless, many organizations have criticized the press situation in Bolivia during Evo Morales' presidency, especially the violence against press by groups supporting the government. According to the ANP's statistics, there were already 26 assaults against journalists in Bolivia during February 2011. Bolivia ranks as 108 of 179 countries in the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders at the beginning of 2012.
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