IAPA rejects free official advertising imposed by Bolivian government
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has expressed concern at the issuing of a recent official decree by Bolivia's President Evo Morales that requires all news media to distribute government messages free of charge, without distinguishing between public and privately owned companies.
Morales last week issued the decree on obligatory dissemination in the news media of campaigns against violence on minors. The measure requires television channels to broadcast Justice Ministry messages free of charge for 15 minutes a month, radio stations for 25 minutes, and newspapers to publish them on one page a month.
IAPA President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La Republica, stressed that "while the aim of the decree appears to have good intentions, to impose what and when a message is disseminated is an intrusion in the management of private companies, whose editorial and economic strategies should not be influenced by authoritarian measures. The State has at its disposal public media to publicise its social policies".