World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Condemns Attacks on Press Freedom in Ecuador

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WAN-IFRA Condemns Attacks on Press Freedom in Ecuador

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The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) together with the World Editors Forum have condemned the deteriorating situation for press freedom in Ecuador, calling on President Rafael Correa to put an end to any form of state intimidation against the media.

El Universo's offices in Quito, Ecuador

According to reports, on the 22 March President Correa filed a US$30 million lawsuit for damages against newspaper company El Universo, along with a US$50 million criminal defamation suit against three of its senior executives - Carlos Pérez Barriga, César Pérez Barriga and Nicolás Pérez Lapentti - and one of its journalists, Emilio Palacio. If convicted, the four men also face three-year prison sentences.

The case stems from an opinion piece written by Mr Palacio and published in El Universo on 6 February criticising the President’s role during the 30 September 2010 police uprising in Ecuador.

In a letter to President Correa, WAN-IFRA called for all charges against the newspaper and its staff to be dropped, reminding him of the inappropriateness “of a nation’s president seeking to imprison journalists and bankrupt a newspaper because of an opinion article.”

The global press organisation also expressed concern over the possible outcome for the media of an upcoming referendum due to take place on 7 May. Proposals to create a Regulatory Council that would be empowered to regulate and establish ultimate responsibility for media content, as well as a ban on privately-owned news companies, their directors and principal shareholders from owning any shares outside the news business, are being opposed by a broad sector of civil society and private media groups.

In an effort to end what appears to be a growing pattern of harassment of the press, WAN-IFRA urged President Correa “to fully respect international standards of freedom of expression” whatever the outcome of the referendum.

Read the full letter here.


Rodrigo Bonilla's picture

Rodrigo Bonilla


2011-04-22 10:41

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...