Afrique Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Bolivia23 July 2008

Five government ministers named to supervise state-owned TV channel

Reporters Without Borders is worried by yesterday’s announcement that five government ministers have been appointed to head the state-owned National Corporation for Bolivian Television (ENTVB) under an 11 June decree declaring it to be a “strategic enterprise.” ENTVB operates the Canal 7 television station.

“This decision has been taken against a backdrop of extreme political polarisation and confrontation between government media and opposition media,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is vital that all the actors involved should take care not to put political interests before respect for news diversity.”

Presidential chief of staff Juan Ramón Quintana has been named as chairman of ENTVB’s board of governors. The other four members of the board are planning minister Graciela Toro, education minister Magdalena Cajías, finance minister Luis Arce and public works minister Oscar Coca.

The National Press Association (ANP), which represents Bolivia’s newspaper owners, condemned the announcement as a violation of free expression and press freedom. The ANP voiced particular concern that the decree says the minster must “draw up strategies and plans for developing ENTVB’s activities in the framework of the policies dictated by the national government.”

ANP executive director Juan Javier Zeballos said the state media are not supposed to serve any political faction. Former ENTVB chief executive Juan Francisco Flores described the decree as direct government intervention in news coverage.

Reacting to the accusations, Canal 7’s current managing director, Irguen Pastén, said there had been no changes to the way the station operates since the appointment of the new board of governors and the governments of many other countries have introduced this kind of oversight of state TV stations.

He also said the new governors were just in charge of activities at the institutional level and posed no threat to the autonomy of the station’s journalists.

In this country
19 January - Bolivia
On eve of constitutional referendum, politicians and media urged to act responsibly
20 November - Bolivia
Pro-government militant under house arrest after new attack on journalists
15 September - Bolivia
Reporters Without Borders urges president and opposition prefects to restore calm after ten days of severe violence
20 August - Bolivia
Call to stop new violence against media in wake of recall vote
11 August - Bolivia
Recall referendum goes off quietly, with only a few isolated attacks on press

in the annual report
Bolivia - Annual Report 2008
Bolivia - Annual report 2007
Bolivia - Annual report 2006

14 March 2008 - Cuba
No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
Paramilitary "black eagles" poised to swoop down on press

Americas press releases
3 June - United States
President Obama urged to raise freedom of expression in his Cairo speech
29 May - Venezuela
Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
27 May - Mexico
Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
20 May - Cuba
Anyone can browse the Internet... unless they are Cuban
15 May - Cuba
Journalist gets three-year jail sentence

Americas archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Sign the petitions
Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
Fabio Prieto Llorente
United States
Chauncey Bailey
A petition to Raúl Castro