Defamation Laws In Bolivia

The national Penal Code and Press Law outline defamation laws in Bolivia.

The Press Law expressly states that defamation cases in which the plaintiff is an individual person are to be handled under the Penal Code of Bolivia. Article 282 of the Penal Code of Bolivia states that whomever publicly reveals or divulges a fact, quality, or conduct that may affect the reputation of an individual may be held liable for defamation.

Article 283 of the Penal Code states that whomever falsely charges an individual with a commission of a crime shall be liable for slander and shall be punished by imprisonment ranging from 6 months to two years.

Bolivia’s Penal Code also included a statute of limitations. A severe criminal offense could not be prosecuted unless the offender was brought to justice within ten years of the date of its commission. Judicial pardon did not exist in the Bolivian penal system, but both the president and Congress had this power in certain limited circumstances. Both were authorized to declare amnesty for political offenses, and Congress was empowered to pardon offenders in either criminal or civil cases, provided that the Supreme Court of Justice concurred.

Bolivian Defamation Lawsuit Of Walter Molina

In March 2012, a Bolivian magazine editor was sentenced to 30 months in jail for defaming a lawyer named Walter Molina, whom the editor accused of collecting excessive attorney fees while representing the government in a case involving a national social-security program. The editor’s conviction is based on a title of his article: “Un robo con la ley en la mano,” which can be translated as “Using the law to steal.”