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During the first decade of the 21st century, Bolivia’s “classic” newspapers have disappeared. Preference for tabloid-size print media was one of the reasons for the extinction of Presencia, the Catholic daily that, since the 1950s, had been the morning paper with the largest national circulation. Ultima Hora, an afternoon paper turned morning tabloid, also disappeared, unable to survive the death of its owner, Mario Mercado. Hoy was born a tabloid but also closed its doors, making room for the new leading opinion papers: La Razón (later acquired by Grupo Prisa) and La Prensa, established as a result of the resignation of La Razón’s founding managers. A new group of journalists, unhappy with the management and political positions of these leading La Paz newspapers, founded Página Siete, perhaps now the most influential independent daily. Only two of Bolivia’s older papers remain: Jornada, which was always a marginal paper because of its sensationalism, and El Diario, which was founded in 1904 and prides itself on being the “dean of the Bolivian press,” although its sales are for the most part guaranteed by its classified ads sections. The biweekly Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno is undoubtedly the foremost independent medium for political, economic, social, and cultural analysis.

Confronting the News: The State of Independent Media in Latin America, by Douglas Farah [June, 2011]. The report calls attention to the deteriorating environments for independent news media in many Latin American countries as governments across the region increasingly push for limits on the press. It explores tactics used by these governments to silence the media and encourages the NGO community and U.S., European, and other Latin American leaders to put pressure on Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia, among others, to stop infringing on the right to freedom of expression and access to information.

[Originally published here as part of WITNESS’s collaboration with Global Voices Online]

It has been a bumper few weeks on GV for human rights video, so let’s get straight into it…

Bandh of brothers… [via Neha]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvRLmupsVts]

This footage, filmed by Dinesh Wagle, of United We Blog!, shows motorcycle riders being turned backed by members of the National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs in Kathmandu. The NFNTE had called a bandh (strike) prohibiting vehicles from running on the streets, after public buses were torched in an earlier protest during the instability in Terai.

I’d love to know what’s actually said in the exchange between the two sides – any offers to post a transcript or to subtitle via dotsub or elsewhere?

Wagle offers a worrying perspective on the unpredictability of life in Nepal at the moment:

“[…] it’s indeed hard to predict the political and other developments in today’s Nepal. The trend of creating anarchy and take advantage of such situation has increased over the past several months. There is a kind of planned competition to exploit the situation. You never know what’s going to happen when. Anyone can call a Nepal banda any time. General public has to face the difficulties caused by such prompt and unnecessary decisions. Public have always become the victim of such bandas in the past. What can they do other than quietly suffer?”

FarsiTube, Alexander Litvinenko, strikes in Lebanon, maids protesting at the beach in Peru, vlogging from UAE, and clashes in Bolivia after the jump…

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