Bolivia: Despite Critical Success, Producers of TV Program on Sexual Rights Still Face Charges

SUMMARY

“Mamá no me lo dijo”, a TV series dealing with sexual rights from a feminist perspective and produced by the Bolivian lesbian-feminist organization Mujeres Creando, aired on national TV on Sunday, June 8 and was very well received by the audience. On August 2002, the producers and crew were arrested while shooting in the streets of La Paz, and subjected to abuse while in detention. In spite of the program’s success, its producers are still awaiting trial for “obscene acts” and “obscene performances” as a result of the filming.

ACTION

No action is needed for the moment. You are welcome to send congratulatory messages to creando@creando.entelnet.bo, where you can also inquire about special copies of the series (in Spanish) on sale.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

“Mamá no me lo dijo” goes on air every Sunday, from 10-11 pm (local prime time), through Red P.A.T, an open TV channel in Bolivia. The series includes a total of 13 chapters, followed by a discussion table on the studios, focused on the issues raised by each particular chapter (homophobic and/or racist prejudice, sexual violence, among others). During the week, producers survey the general public on the week’s issue – findings are revealed at the end of each transmission.

Pictures showing the police attacking the crew and cast on August were used for the series’ publicity.

The cast includes Eliana Dentone Verardi (president of the nation-wide Sexual Workers’ Union, in Chile); a former nun; Miriam Zambrana and Juliana Quispe Apaza, two street vendors; Florentina Alegre and Rosa Tapia, indigenous people’s and peasant’s rights activists; and professional dancer Kathia Salazar.

Producers and cast will travel to other Bolivian cities (Cochabamba and Santa Cruz) to show excerpts of the program. After, they will host an open discussion with the audience. The show has also been invited to the Bilbao, Zaragoza, Huesca and Barcelona Women’s Film Festivals, and plans to distribute it in Chile and Peru are also already under way. It has recently been shown at Pittsburgh University, USA, during the Latin American Studies Conference.

In August 2002, the La Paz Public Prosecutor Office pressed charges of "obscene acts" (Article 323 of the Penal Code) and "obscene performances" (Article 324) against the producers, after police had arrested them for shooting in the streets. Subsequently, however, the Ministry of Government (Ministerio de Gobierno) issued a Constitutional warrant to the video crew, allowing them to continue filming without interference from State authorities. Despite the warrant and the show’s positive reception, its producers still face legal actions.

For more information on the August 2002 events, please see our Action Alert BOLIVIA: VIDEO CREW ASSAULTED, JAILED: DEFEND THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION – August 30, 2002.

ABOUT IGLHRC

The mission of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is to secure the full enjoyment of the human rights of all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or expression, and/or HIV status. A US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO), IGLHRC effects this mission through advocacy, documentation, coalition building, public education, and technical assistance.

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Email: iglhrc@iglhrc.org
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