Ecuador’s President Correa and the press: it just goes on getting worse

I drew attention a week or two back to the unsavoury campaign of intimidation being waged by President Rafael Correa of Ecuador against journalists whose reporting and opinions he doesn’t like.

As a president with five years in post after his three predecessors were ejected without a voter ever being consulted, Correa has some success to his credit. But it seems to be going to his head. He has just won court judgements which fine two journalists a million dollars each for insulting the dignity of both the presidency and the country. The case details are laid out here. One of the journalists, Juan Carlos Calderón, described the judgement as “disproportionate, absurd and irrational”.

 

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3 comments

  1. The problem is that the case details are all wrong. On page 199 of their book ‘El Gran Hermano’, Calderón and Zurita unequivocally state that “El presidente sí conocía de todos los contratos de su hermano”, “The president did indeed know all of his brothers’s contracts.” Calderón repeated the same statement in an interview with Radio Quito in September 2011.
    http://y2u.be/fagaxfQQC5U
    All Correa demands is a public retraction of that statement for which they have no evidence. No fine, just a retraction. The same in the Universo case. Now think about why you did not know this. It has to do with the press in Ecuador.

    • The journalists involved would dispute that and do say that they have evidence of the President’s knowledge. But that’s not really the point here. It’s not proportionate or reasonable response even if the reporting were wrong.

  2. If they had evidence (which they did not present in court) Correa would go to prison because he stated under oath that he didn’t know about the contracts. No, instead they claim that they were only quoting his brother (which would have been perfectly legal btw), but this is demonstrably false.
    Is it really disproportionate to demand the retraction of a grave accusation? Once again, no fine would have to be paid by the journalists in that case.
    In the book they also accused María de los Ángeles Duarte of having signed the illegal contracts. She pointed out to them that she wasn’t even a minister at the time when the contracts were signed and demanded a retraction, yet they refused. Is that professional? Would you defend that as well?