New York- August 04th 2016
The committee to Protect journalists said today, that the Bolivian president Evo Morales should take off the criminal offense which he files against the journalist. Due to the reason of the president’s action it will directly affect the press freedom of the country. Humberto Vacaflor is the journalist who the president has filed the case and Rene Delgado who is the Bolivian criminal court justice said he got to know this case on yesterday.
According to the discussion CPJ and Vacaflor had, due to the comments he made on this participation of the Encontrados TV Catolica Program on july 04th Morales has filed an insult complaints and he has to face this criminal charges on July 27th. According to the regional press reports Vacaflor has blamed Morales saying that he was in contact with the murder of police officer David Andrade and his wife Graciela Alfaro which happens on year 2000. Morales was a representative and head of a coca growers union on year 2000 which the murders took place. Judicial investigation informed they are unable to find any evidence on this against Morales.
As the highest elected person of a country, President Evo Morales should start working with the Bolivian government to dismiss the criminal penalties rather than getting involved with these useless claims said by the CPJ advocacy director Courtney Radsch from Washington. According to his comment on this, presidents should have the capacity to tolerate and accept criticism and especially public blames. They should not punish anyone for speech and importantly should not get the old fashioned criminal laws in to modern world.
In a telephone conversation Vacaflor who won the press freedom prize from Bolivia’s national press association this year had with CPJ has told that he is publishing weekly news site Siglo 21 which has at least 6 Bolivian newspapers such as el Deber and El Diario.
According to the agencia EFE Vacaflor has not attend to the court hearing on yesterday said by the judge and he is having 10 days of a grace period to appear on the court before the other trial date is fixed. At the same time Vacaflor said to CPJ that he was afraid to appear on the case thinking that he will get arrested and he still have the mind that the president will withdraw the case due to the negative feedback from the news media. At the same time Vacalor told he will appear on courts in-front of a special jury that can handle Press related cases. In some cases journalists has to face trials in front of jurors and they were selected by the mayor without going to criminal court for trial. There the juror can take a tax and in most of the time will be an agreement between the two parties. All these reasons are his excuses for not appearing the court on the said date.
So far the responses for CPJ’s phone calls, social media or even emails were not responded from the Morales representative Alex Monasterios Orhuela on this case and this was highlighted by the lawyer. In 2000 CPJ has started a strong and powerful campaign to remove these criminal offences from the region and he had closely followed these laws in Americas for past decade. His efforts got success. It helps to develop the international harmony within inter American system. CPJ’s studies explained that use of this criminal offence laws will have an impact on the press in Latin America. Due to a story written by Bolivian journalist Rogelio Pelaez on government corruption was arrested for 30 months in prison in 2012.
Check critic are not criminals a comparative study done by CPJ regarding the criminal defamation laws in the Americas.
INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE PROTECTION AND FREEDOM OF JOURNALISTS