Editor hit with 30-month prison sentence for libel

Human rights campaigners are pressing the Bolivian government to reform the country's criminal defamation laws following the recent conviction of a leading editor who has been sentenced to a two-anda- half-year prison term.

Press freedom under threat

Rogelio Peláez – editor of the monthly news magazine Larga Vista – was convicted a few weeks ago of defaming a lawyer, whom he accused of over-charging the La Paz government while advising on social security matters.


The case has triggered protests from global press freedom groups, with the Vienna-based International Press Institute maintaining the Peláez verdict, ‘underscores the urgency with which Bolivia must revisit its criminal defamation laws’.
The institute’s press freedom manager, Anthony Mills, said: ‘In no instance should a journalist be sent to prison for investigating matters of public interest. We strongly condemn the sentence in Mr Peláez’s case, which has the potential to lead to self-censorship among the wider media. Ultimately, Bolivia’s criminal-defamation law poses a threat to a people’s right to information, and we urge the government to consider its repeal.’
The Peláez case follows a February ruling in Colombia, when an 18-month prison sentence was upheld for a journalist convicted of slandering a former senator.

Email your news and story ideas to: [email protected]