Radio Municipal
March 29, 2008, in Pucarani, Bolivia

Quispe, a journalist working for a government-run radio station in Pucarani, died March 29 after being severely beaten two days earlier by protesters demanding the ouster of the local mayor.

On the afternoon of March 27, at least 150 protesters rallied outside the government building in Pucarani, a small city about 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the capital, La Paz, and called for the ouster of Mayor Alejandro Mamani. The mayor had been accused of corruption, according to local press reports and CPJ interviews. The protesters forced their way into the municipal building and broke down the door to the government-run Radio Municipal. Witnesses told radio station Onda Local that demonstrators destroyed station equipment and identified Quispe as "the mouth on the radio."

Protestors wielding whips and metal rods beat Quispe in the head and chest, according to an official in the mayor's office who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity. Quispe, a journalism student at La Paz's Universidad Mayor de San Andrés who had worked as an intern at Radio Municipal for three months, was taken to a clinic in Pucarani and later to a hospital in La Paz, according to reports in the Bolivian press. Quispe died on March 29 from unspecified complications, the Spanish news service EFE reported.

Radio Municipal, the only radio station in Pucarani, provided government information and community news, according to Bolivian journalists. Quispe delivered a daily noontime news report, Juan Javier Zeballos, executive director of the National Press Association, told CPJ.

Quispe also hosted a nightly music program and often interviewed Mamani, who talked about government projects and fielded questions from listeners.

Wilson Arteaga, a reporter for Onda Local who traveled to Pucarani to investigate the incident, told CPJ that Radio Municipal's facilities were destroyed. Local police did not return CPJ's messages seeking comment.

Job:Broadcast Reporter
Beats Covered:Politics
Local or Foreign:Local
Type of Death:Murder
Suspected Source of Fire:Mob Violence
Taken Captive:No


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