Daily Archives: October 13, 2012

Bolivian media under governmental control?!

Los Tiempos editorial which reflects current pressures to freedom of speech and free press:

Step by step towards media control

As in other cases, a just cause is being reduced to the status of pretext for purposes as ignoble, as they are required to be masked

A common feature of the Governments of the countries aligned with the vague concept of the socialism of the 21st century is [to achieve the] total control of the media, either through purchases through figureheads; the tax burden; judicial harassment and a long etcetera which should include the draft law on compulsory insurance for all journalists as ‘endorsed’ by the Ministry of communications.

On several occasions we have referred to this initiative which does not only seek to provide a social benefit, as much as to ‘force’ journalistic enterprises to form a fund to be managed by the State, through a directory where the State would have the majority.

The origin of this initiative is the assault and murder of two fellow journalists, in an act of criminal order. Produced this crime, the idea that journalists should have a life insurance to face these tragedies. From the outset, the National Press Association (ANP) expressed agreement with the recruitment of insurance for their workers and many companies already proceeded to do so. What is rejected is precisely that distorting the objective and taking advantage of it, is intended to create a fund with the contribution of 1% of the gross income of journalistic enterprises for the provision of insurance for workers in the press, and that should be run with a Board dominated by State representatives who would  manage it.

In addition, there are too many background issues that makes us fear that the management of a Fund of this nature, in which the representatives of the Executive Branch will have the ability to approve the final decision, can become a space for corruption. It should be taken into account that the proposed law provides that if there were to be “some remnants” after taking out the insurance, they will be allocated to other purposes by Supreme Decree. And it is such an interest in the proposal to be adopted, whereas little consideration is given by the designers of this mechanism, that its entry into force may cause the closure of many small media, with the consequent increase in unemployment, or the suspension of several benefits that companies have given employees on their own accord.

Also should be noted that with this proposal the State recognizes its inability to perform their functions, there is a tacit recognition of the poor state of many of management bodies on security [public safety] and a preview of how the State administrator of pensions could work, that is, between their obligations, the guarantee the payment of a pension worthy to retirees or those who have an impediment for disability or death.

Therefore, a draft law which says this, in any State with legal certainty would be filed by irrational, [here it] seems that it will end up being approved because the ultimate purpose is no more than, to move towards total control of the media.