Two Bolivian Broadcast Journalists Killed
Freedom House laments the brutal killing of Verónica and Víctor Hugo Peñasco, on February 26 in Bolivia. The siblings were members of the Aymara ethnic group and both worked as broadcasters for local radio stations in Alto Bolivia. They were found near their home allegedly strangled to death. Veronica worked as a press director for a San Gabriel radio station morning show and hosted a Spanish-Aymara themed-program on Channel 7, Bolivian state television. Her brother Victor Hugo was the host of a program on radio station Pachakamasa. Media covering the case have suggested that killings were the result of a common crime. Freedom House asks the authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the deaths, not ruling out that the motive might be linked to their journalistic work.
Bolivia is ranked partly free in the Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and partly free in Freedom of the Press 2011. Threats and attacks against the news media occurred with increasing regularity in the last two years. In April 2011, a news director for Agencia de Noticias Fides was killed by an explosive device. In September 2011, journalist Monica Oblitas received death threats after writing a story exposing government corruption. In November 2011, a Bolivian television channel and its sister radio station were vandalized and forced off the air.