Bolivia Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 58.55 – Moderate Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Bolivia 117/180
Reporters Without Borders ranks Bolivia at 117 out of 180 countries for press freedom, citing violations by the government and its supporters through attacks, threats, censorship, and harassment of journalists, with an increasing number of police-perpetrated attacks.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Bolivia lacks specific legislation governing media and broadcasting, with the 1925 Press Law as the only regulatory framework in the sector. Although the government is considering creating a new media law, numerous media companies have expressed concern about the potential negative impact of such changes.
Radio is the dominant force in the Bolivian media landscape, and Radio Fides, belonging to the First Jesuit Catholic Radio of Bolivia, stands as the most prominent station. Until the mid-eighties, The Catholic Church predominantly held media ownership and a few families with strong ties to the national printing press. Despite establishing a secular state. in the 2009 constitution, the Catholic Church and its media outlets, including the Daily Presencia, continue to wield significant power.
Apart from the Church, private corporations and influential families predominantly control the media industry, including the Carrasco family (El Diario), Grupo Fides, Grupo El Deber, and the Canelas Family (Los Tiempos).
Furthermore, most of Bolivia’s TV stations are privately owned, with Bolivia TV being the sole government-owned channel. This media concentration, however, can restrict diversity in viewpoints and impede the growth of smaller or independent media outlets.
Despite some improvements in recent years, press freedom in Bolivia remains at risk with incidents of the police attacking journalists during protests in Santa Cruz. Overall, harassment of journalists and a lack of media law protections lead to an environment of self-censorship and limited freedom.
Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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