Two hurt in bombings against radio in Potosi as TV station targeted in the south



    MONTREAL, June 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today
condemned bomb attacks against the privately-owned TV station, Canal 4-Unitel
in Yacuiba, Tarija department, southern Brazil and against Radio Kollasuyo, in
Potosi, in the department of the same name in the south-west of the country.
    Political and media polarisation that is undermining the country was
behind both attacks, which caused severe damage in both cases and left two
station staff injured in Potosoi, the worldwide press freedom organisation
said. The Tarija blast took place against the background of an autonomy
referendum on 22 June.
    Two people in a car threw a dynamite charge into the entrance of Canal
4-Unitel in Yacuiba at dawn on 21 June, badly damaging the main door and
windows, but causing no injuries.
    Judicial authorities blamed elements within army and a group of students
at the People's university of Santa Cruz, supporters of President Evo Morales,
who had visited the gas-rich province during the referendum campaign. Around
20 arrests have been made in connection with the attack.
    Director of the TV station in Yacuiba, Armando Reyes, voiced his shock
and dismay to Reporters Without Borders. "We try to keep a balance in our
programmes, to serve the people and those most need it", he said.
    The previous morning an explosion devastated the door and façade of the
main studios of Radio Kollasuyo. Its director, Epifanio Moscoso, said two
station staff had been injured: Teofila Taquichiri had lost the hearing in one
ear and Silvia Gutiérrez had received a stomach injury from flying wood
fragments.
    The radio had to interrupt programmes later the same day after a fire
ravaged tax offices housed in an adjoining building. Both incidents came
during a strike by miners in the centre of Potosi, that degenerated into
attacks and looting of several public buildings.
    Four other journalists were set on by miners. José Luis Velasquez Pareja,
of Radio Kollasuyo, Roger Vera, of 18-Catslica Televisisn, Juan Carlos Paco,
press spokesman at the department health service, and Jannet Cortez, of Radio
ACLO-Potosi.
    "Less serious than in Santa Cruz, on 4 May, and the departments of Beni
and Pando, on 1st June, the attacks against the media in the context of the
autonomy referendum in Tarija department, hardly give rise to optimism, with
another referendum scheduled for the whole country on 10 August," Reporters
Without Borders said.
    "As we have urged previously the entire political class must reach an
agreement to protect fundamental freedoms, ensure that the radical groups on
each side are disowned by the parties and that finally safety guarantees be
given to the press for the 10 August referendum", the organisation added.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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