Boliva: anti-racism law passed despite media outcry

On Friday Bolivian President Evo Morales signed a bill into law which gives the government the ability to shut down or fine newspapers which are racist. This bill was passed amidst protesting last week by media sources, who were concerned the bill could be misused to censor or close media outlets which criticize the government. President Morales has expressed a view that the law is intended to combat racism against the indigenous majority.

The Senate debated the bill for 13 hours before approving it as law. No alterations were made to the text of the bill in light of the protests. The protests have continued since the bill was signed into law, which will go into effect in January 2011.