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Bolivian Catholic radio and TV stations bombed

The international Catholic media organisation Signis has expressed its solidarity with Catholic radio and TV stations in Bolivia which were bombed during last week's civil unrest.

An explosion on Wednesday destroyed a transmitter that serviced Radio Pio XII and Televisión Universitaria, located in the provincial city of Oruro, 200 km south of the capital La Paz. The radio station's manager said two hooded men overpowered the caretaker and placed an explosive charge on the antenna.

The destruction of the transmitter occurred in the context of a wave of anti-government protest that led to the resignation of President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada on Friday. Government officials had previously criticised the stations for their coverage of the crackdown.

A communication signed by Signis President, Australian Fr Peter Malone MSC, and his executive, expressed support for the management and staff of the radio and TV station, and for all Bolivian communicators who have been subjected to threats and violence while covering the current social conflict.

"We encourage them to continue to build through their work a culture of peace, justice and respect for Human Rights," the statement said.

The executive called upon the Bolivian authorities to guarantee the freedom and integrity of broadcasters and journaists.

The new President of Bolivia, Carlos Mesa, has promised an investigation into the killing of more than 60 people during five weeks of violent protests. The armed forces, he said, had had a difficult task to perform during the demonstrations by thousands of people in major cities such as La Paz but the loss of life was unacceptable.

Mr Mesa, vice-president until the resignation of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada on Friday, has also started to put together a new cabinet.


Bolivia: Catholic radio and TV stations bombed (Independent Catholic News)
Bolivian bishop sees poverty, injustice at root of political crisis (Catholic News Service)
Radio Pio XII is off air (Hard-core DX)
Bolivian Govt. Falling Apart (CounterPunch)
Mounting threats and violence against the press (Reporters Sans Frontieres)
Pope expresses concern over death toll, violence in Bolivia (Catholic News Service)
Bolivia: bishop warns of general hunger strike (MISNA/Independent Catholic News)
CAFOD joins appeals for end to bloodshed in Bolivia (Independent Catholic News)
Pope Calls for Fair Solutions in Troubled Bolivia (Zenit)

20 Oct 2003