Bolivia - Five government ministers named to supervise state-owned TV channel



    MONTREAL, July 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is worried by
yesterday's announcement that five government ministers have been appointed to
head the state-owned National Corporation for Bolivian Television (ENTVB)
under an 11 June decree declaring it to be a "strategic enterprise." ENTVB
operates the Canal 7 television station.
    "This decision has been taken against a backdrop of extreme political
polarisation and confrontation between government media and opposition media,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "It is vital that all the actors involved
should take care not to put political interests before respect for news
diversity."
    Presidential chief of staff Juan Ramon Quintana has been named as
chairman of ENTVB's board of governors. The other four members of the board
are planning minister Graciela Toro, education minister Magdalena Cajias,
finance minister Luis Arce and public works minister Oscar Coca.
    The National Press Association (ANP), which represents Bolivia's
newspaper owners, condemned the announcement as a violation of free expression
and press freedom. The ANP voiced particular concern that the decree says the
minster must "draw up strategies and plans for developing ENTVB's activities
in the framework of the policies dictated by the national government."
    ANP executive director Juan Javier Zeballos said the state media are not
supposed to serve any political faction. Former ENTVB chief executive Juan
Francisco Flores described the decree as direct government intervention in
news coverage.
    Reacting to the accusations, Canal 7's current managing director, Irguen
Pastén, said there had been no changes to the way the station operates since
the appointment of the new board of governors and the governments of many
other countries have introduced this kind of oversight of state TV stations.
    He also said the new governors were just in charge of activities at the
institutional level and posed no threat to the autonomy of the station's
journalists.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary General,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org;
www.rsfcanada.org

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