Unidentified assailants attacked a Bolivian radio station on Monday, throwing Molotov cocktails and setting alight to a journalist in the studio during a broadcast, according to reports.
Four attackers broke in Radio Popular in the town of Yacuiba while listeners followed the events live on air.
Station director, Fernando Vidal was interviewing two guests who were discussing corruption in the Bolivian Customs Office when the attackers broke in. Staff at the station said that the assailants poured petrol over Vidal and set him alight, adding that they also threw Molotov cocktails
Vidal was rushed to hospital after suffering from severe burns, along with studio technician, Karen Anza who was also injured in the attack according to local media reports.
Vidal’s son-in-law explained that he had suffered burns on his face, arms and chest. He added that his father-in-law had been a strong critic of the government in the area, and had voiced his thoughts on air.
Police arrested three of the attackers according to local media, although government officials refused to confirm whether this was true.
A statement from the government says it “condemns the assassination attempt on journalist Fernando Vidal of Popular Radio FM 95.1 operating in the border town of Yacuiba, Santa Cruz and informs the public that it has ordered an accelerated and rigorous investigation to find those responsible and submit to the relevant judicial authorities."
According to the press release the state "will follow a thorough investigation by the Bolivian police and the prosecution to verify the clarification of the case and punishment of those responsible.”
Bolivia is currently ranked 95th out of 179 in the latest World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.