Freedom of Expression

Press Release 93/03


The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Eduardo A. Bertoni, condemns the attack that occurred on Wednesday, October 15th, 2003, in the city of Oruro , south of La Paz , Bolivia , which caused the explosion of a transmission station, and interrupted the broadcasting of Radio Pío XII and Canal 13 Universitaria de Televisión.  

According to information received by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, the Radio Education Network of Bolivia (Red Educación Radiofónica de Bolivia - ERBOL), of which Radio Pio XII is a part, has allegedly received threats for having disclosed information related to the public demonstrations that have been intensifying since last weekend.  

Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media, as they violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression.  This Principle also declares that it is the duty of States to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation.  

The Rapporteur recalls that, in times of crises, freedom of expression is a social catalyst necessary to resolve conflicts, preserve the rule of law, strengthen democracy and ensure citizen participation.   

"I urge the State and the people of Bolivia to resume democratic dialogue, with full respect for the freedom of expression of all inhabitants", expressed Bertoni, who affirmed that the Office of the Special Rapporteur will continue to monitor the development of the events in Bolivia .  

Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Washington , D.C. , October 17, 2003