Iñaki Ferreras ©RapidTVNews | 12-08-2011

Bolivia has established a new law for telecommunications, called Ley General de Telecomunicaciones, Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicación.

Among other clauses, it has set a limit on the percentage of frequencies uses by private broadcasters. The law has been promoted by the country’s president Evo Morales and his political party which claims it was created to protect users with low incomes and lower standards of living.

However, the law has been highly criticised with regard to some clauses such as the share of available frequencies in the country being reduced from 80% down to 33% for private companies. Another 33% has been given to Government-owned broadcasters, while community organizations and indigenous groups will each be allocated 17% of the frequency space.

Another controversial point is the extension of licences for the media (television included) from ten to 15 years. The law also states that foreign companies will not be able to have any more than 29% of their investments in the country’s media companies, representing a 20% reduction on what was previously allowed.
The main criticism by the opposition is that the law demonstrates the “absolute dominance” by the most powerful political figure of the country over the Bolivian media, and this at a time when most of the country’s media is criticising the Government.