Community radio destroyed in clashes between rival peasant groups

Reporters Without Borders condemns the destruction of Radio AM 1080 La Voz de las Mayorías, a community radio station based in Caranavi, 160 km northeast of La Paz, on 21 May.

Affiliated to the network of Radios of the Original Peoples (RPO), the station was destroyed in clashes between two rival peasant groups, the Provincial Agrarian Federation of Peasants of Caranavi (FAPCA) and the Special Agrarian Federation of Peasants of Carrasco.

Accusing the station of biased reporting, a group of protesters stormed into its offices, located inside FAPCA headquarters, and threatened to kill the journalist Franz Eddy Loza, who fled and found refuge with neighbours. The protesters then smashed all the equipment.

“Nothing is left of the radio station,” Loza told Reporters Without Borders. “I kept a few papers, including the operating licence, but nothing else.”

Other journalists were threatened or attacked by protesters during the clashes. They included Radio Televisión Caranavi cameraman Juan Carlos Mazarro, who was hit and whose camera was taken. Around 30 people were injured.

“Several radio stations were the target of dynamite attacks last year, including Radioemisoras Bolivia 1.450 Khz AM, a community radio that was attacked on 26 June,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“The media should not be made to pay for the violence resulting from social and political conflicts. The safety of journalists and their right to work must be respected.”