- defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries.
- fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom.
- gives financial aid each year to 300 or so journalists or media outlets in difficulty (to pay for lawyers, medical care and equipment) as well to the families of imprisoned journalists.
- works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.
Before taking action, Reporters Without Borders researchers, who each handle a region (Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific, Europe and the former Soviet bloc, Middle East/ North Africa) or a topic such as the Internet, compile reports of press freedom violations. After checking the information, the researchers and the organisations’ correspondents send protest letters to the authorities to put pressure on governments which do not respect the right to inform and to be informed, and send releases to the media to drum up support for the journalists under attack.
BOLIVIA: 103 out of 178 in the latest worldwide index
The press has suffered, through a massive upsurge in physical assaults, from the polarisation resulting from ever more open confrontation between President Evo Morales and the separatist opposition. But it also bears a share in the responsibility for the institutional and political crisis which plunged the country into a state of near civil war, narrowly avoided by the intervention of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), on 15 September 2008. Demonstrations in support of the government and the opposition often targeted journalists according to the media they work for – public and seen as pro-government or private and presumed hostile to Evo Morales. In Santa Cruz, attacks against the state press by the regionalist extreme right Unión Juvenil Cruceñista went on occasion as far as murder attempts, while some local privately-owned media like Radio Oriental called for racial hatred and murder of the president and some ministers, who like him, were of indigenous origin. On the other hand, in La Paz, members of the Popular Civic Committee, an organisation close to the government, launched violent attacks against representatives of newspapers, TV and radios in the private sector. One of its activists, Adolfo Cerrudo, accused with others of a threat to rape and an assault against a woman journalist on the daily La Razon, is now behind bars. But impunity is still the rule in most cases. The trial of the alleged killers of Carlos Quispe Quispe, a municipal radio journalist killed at work on 29 March 2008, was adjourned three months later and has never resumed since. Confronted with media that is 85% privately-owned and in the hands of financial interest groups far from sympathetic to the new government, President Evo Morales has promoted a new public and community network that even includes a daily newspaper, Cambio. The new constitution, adopted by referendum on 25 January 2009, has done nothing to alter guarantees of editorial independence. Nevertheless, and despite a relative lull since the Unasur intervention, relations between Evo Morales and the national privately-owned press remain tense.
The paragraph above has in my opinion some flaws and is outdated. In any case this index ranks our lovely Bolivia in the 103 slot from 178 countries.
Earlier this week, when the new communications minister was sworn-in office, she said that the new Law for the press will become a reality; it is too early to tell on the final law provisions but not so early enough to lobby inside and outside Bolivia for a law that should not align to any government in office, but should serve to enforce the freedom of speech, the freedom of information and the freedom of choice that Bolivian citizens deserve.