Bolivia’s mass media are in an uproar over the arrest of a top journalist.
The arrest of Santiago Valdes has stirred a wave of indignation among many in the country.
The 62-year-old journalist, who is the country’s longest-serving newspaper editor, was arrested on Sunday and charged with violating a law banning “anti-government propaganda” and spreading false news.
“This is an unprecedented case that violates fundamental principles of the constitution,” said Jorge Valdes, Bolivia’s president.
“We have a democracy, but in the 21st century, the press is the voice of the people, and the president is the one who is supposed to decide when it is appropriate to interfere with the press.”
Valdes has been accused of using his weekly newspaper, La Vanguardia, to “spread propaganda and promote conspiracy theories” against President Evo Morales and the Bolivian government.
The country’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, has promised a full investigation into the case.
“The President condemns this act of criminal aggression, which is contrary to our values,” Kuczosaid.
“We will investigate this thoroughly, and if necessary, we will put to trial those responsible for this act.”
But critics are not buying the President’s rhetoric.
They have called on the country to step up to the plate, pointing to the fact that the country has already banned all forms of political propaganda.
“If the Boland state does not show some responsibility and take action, then we can expect more cases like this to occur in the future,” said Alberto Bautista, director of the National Center for the Study of Human Rights and Democracy.