Bolivia: The Right to Communications and Information

Published on Dissident Voice (first on Journal de Notre Amérique, Investig’Action), by Alex Anfruns, Dec 24, 2016 – translated from Spanish by Ricardo Vaz.

Over the past decade, Bolivia has managed some extraordinary achievements, for instance becoming the first country in the world to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals in terms of access to water. In spite of it, these news that could bring hope to people around the world are subjected to censorship from the dominant Latin American and western media.

More than that, the media proceeds to relentlessly misinform and demonize all the leaders from the Global South that dare disobey the empire. The Journal of Our America has interviewed Claudia Espinoza, former vice-minister of Communication Policy from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, to ask her how the peoples can defend their right to access information, a basic pillar in the emancipation of democratic societies … //

… AA: How important is it for the MAS government to develop a counter-hegemonic communication model, through community or popular media outlets?

  • CE: It is of crucial importance, because in practice the MAS was borne out of these community and popular media outlets. In the beginning of his tenure, Evo Morales supported community radio stations and social movements so that they would enjoy their right to communications. The Tupac Katari satellite was a response to the priority of bringing technology to the rural areas, where there is now access to television and internet through satellite.

AA: In your opinion, what do the attacks against TeleSur by the Latin American right-wing mean?

  • CE: It is part of the imperial strategy of silencing the voice of the peoples. TeleSur plays a fundamental role in the media world, being in effect the only source that shows the other side of the reality in Latin America, and showing the rest of the world, the other continents, to Latin America.

AA: How can Latin American peoples reinforce this regional integration mechanism?

  • CE: Wherever there are progressive governments in power, it is necessary to institutionalize TeleSur as a democratic right of the peoples. To reinforce this mechanism the peoples themselves need to participate further, multiplying its reach through social media and following its broadcast permanently.

(full interview text).

(Alex Anfruns is a lecturer, journalist and editor-in-chief of independent media outlet Investig’Action in Brussels. In 2007 he helped direct the documentary Palestina, la verdad asediada. Voces por la paz (available with Catalan, Spanish, English and Arabic subtitles). Between 2009 and 2014 he made several trips to Egypt and the occupied Palestinian territories. He has edited the monthly Journal de Notre Amérique since 2015. Read other articles by Alex).

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