Bolivia - Media

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Bolivia had about 327,000 mainline telephones in 1996 with an additional 116,000 cellular phones in use in 1997. The telegraph system is owned by the Ministry of Communications; remote parts of the country are connected by wireless.

A government-owned television station broadcasts from La Paz. Private radio and television stations are permitted. There were 171 AM and 73 FM radio stations in 1999. There were 48 television stations as of 1997. In 2000, Bolivia had 676 radios and 119 television sets fore very 1,000 people. In 2000, there were nine Internet service providers serving about 78,000 subscribers.

In 2002 there were about 16 major daily newspapers. The largest La Paz daily newspapers, with their estimated circulations in 2002, are El Diario, 55,000; La Razon, 27,000; and Presencia, 20,000. Important provincial dailies are Los Tiempos (Cochabamba), with 19,000 circulation; El Deber (Santa Cruz), 35,000; and El Mundo (Santa Cruz), with 15,000.

The Constitution of Bolivia provides for the freedom of speech and press, and the government is said to allow free operation of electronic and print media. However, the Penal Code provides that persons found guilty of slandering government officials may be jailed, though it is said that this law is infrequently enforced.

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