14 October 1997


Two articles of bill pose threat to press freedom

Incident details

legal action

(RSF/IFEX) - Two articles of a bill aimed at reforming the Code
of Criminal Procedure which is currently being debated in the
Chamber of Deputies pose a threat to press freedom, says RSF.
Article 264 obliges journalists to reveal their sources of
information to a judge if the latter considers such information
"indispensable" to the successful execution of legal proceedings
and if "their veracity can only be otherwise corroborated by the
identification" of their origin. The judge would then be able to
order a journalist to give him the names of his sources. Article
427 gives judges the power to prevent the media from covering
certain trials. Currently, all trials are open to the media.

Following protests by Bolivian media organizations, Bolivian
President Hugo Banzer called on Vice President of Congress Jorge
Quiroga to reject Article 264 which, according the Banzer, "goes
against the spirit of the `printing law', in force since 1925."

During a meeting with union representatives, on 13 October,
President of the Chamber of Deputies Hormando Vaca Diez agreed to
annul the offending paragraph of Article 264 and to make known
that the 1925 printing law is still in force.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • indicating that, if approved, Article 264 would constitute a
    serious threat to press freedom and that Article 427 could lead
    to widespread abuse
  • calling on them to use their influence so that the two
    paragraphs are withdrawn from the reform bill during
    parliamentary debates set to take place on 15 October

    Appeals To

    Excmo Sr. Presidente
    Hugo Banzer
    Palacio de Gobierno
    La Paz, Bolivia
    Fax: +5912 391216 / 371308 (if voice, ask "el tono de fax, por

    Ministry of Governance
    Av. Arce esq. Belisario Salinas
    La Paz, Bolivia
    Fax: +591 2 371334

    Ministry of Justice
    Palacio de Comunicaciones Piso 6,
    Avenida Mariscal Santa Cruz
    La Paz, Bolivia
    Fax: +591 2 356530

    Hormando Vaca Diez
    President of the Lower House
    Palacio Legislativo
    Plaza Murillo
    La Paz, Bolivia
    Fax: +5912 392 178

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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