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News > Bolivia

Bolivia: Añez Backs Down, Annuls Decree Against Speech Freedom

  •  The Government takes armed military personnel to the streets in order to

    The Government takes armed military personnel to the streets in order to "encourage" patients with Covid-19, Cochabamba, Bolivia, May 9, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @wiphalo1975

Published 15 May 2020

The decree aimed at sanctioning those who disseminate information contrary to the coup-born regime's interests.

Due to pressure stemming from human rights defenders, Bolivia's coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez Thursday was forced to repeal a decree allowing it to extend restrictions on freedom of expression during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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The ​​​​​​decree issued on May 7 aimed at sanctioning those "who violate the quarantine to disseminate written, printed, or artistic information that affects public health," Communication Minister Isabel Fernandez explained.

Articles from a general decree issued on March 20 were also repealed, as they contained penalties that limited freedom of expression.

"Using criminal law in favor of governments' interests is inconceivable. Nothing should stop access to public information," the International Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Special Rapporteur Edison Lanza said.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet also called for a change in the controversial rule.

"Jeanine Añez's regime violates human rights by imposing criminal sanctions against freedom former Bolivia's President Evo Morales denounced and blamed the coup-born government for harassing the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).

The Jeanine Añez administration justified its decree by arguing that ​​​​​​​the U.S.-backed regime is the victim of a political campaign that promotes disobedience.

"The government will protect itself from threats of violence and attacks against the quarantine, even when the decree is repealed," Fernandez warned. ​​​​​​​

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