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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Journalists unions in Bolivia reject new life insurance law



Evo Morales, Source: Wikimedia Commons

Journalists unions in Bolivia rejected the Life and Disability Insurance Law for Press Workers enacted by President Evo Morales on Monday, Dec. 10, reported the website Los Tiempos. The proposed insurance would be paid for with one percent of the monthly total gross revenue of public and private media organizations and managed by a board with majority State representation, added the website. 

Last March, media workers demanded life insurance after the violent death of a reporter. The law's full name, "Hermanos Peñasco Laime," (Brothers Peñasco Laime) comes from the names of other reporters killed in the pursuit of their work. 

Despite the National Press Association's (ANP in Spanish) declared support for the law in May, when the law reached the Assembly the organization argued that the law "undermines the purpose for which it was designed" by creating a tax burden for media organizations. Furthermore, the group said that the creation of the fund "could potentially become a source of political interests, corruption and other behaviors" that go against journalists' ethics.  

For these reasons the ANP, the Press Association for Peace and the unions of some newspapers, including La Razón and El Diario, rejected the proposal, added the website Los Tiempos. Workers for the newspaper La Razón also said that the law could affect their rights and job security as it is written, and said they would go to the Constitutional Court to defend their rights, reported the newspaper. 

Minister of Communications Amanda Dávila said the law would not affect workers' rights, reported La Razón.

During the signing of the law, Morales criticized some media owners, saying he considers press workers "slave[s] to the media, to employers, they should have pushed for this life insurance, they are misled," reported the website People. The president also addressed journalistic organizations, saying, "Don't ask me for freedom of expression, ask it of the owners [of the media companies]," added the website. 



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