01 September 2011

IAPA reiterates concern at deterioration of press freedom in Ecuador

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Miami (September 1, 2011)—The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Gonzalo Marroquín, reaffirmed the organization’s concern at the deterioration of press freedom in Ecuador and offered solidarity with and support for Ecuadorean journalist Emilio Palacio during a meeting held today at its headquarters here.
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Miami (September 1, 2011)—The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Gonzalo Marroquín, reaffirmed the organization’s concern at the deterioration of press freedom in Ecuador and offered solidarity with and support for Ecuadorean journalist Emilio Palacio during a meeting held today at its headquarters here. 

“I would like to convey our solidarity and stress that we are at your side and that of the newspaper El Universo in this battle for the defense of press freedom and free speech in Ecuador,” Marroquín said in a telephone call to Palacio. 

Palacio, former editorial page editor of the Guayaquil paper and its executives Carlos, César and Nicolás Pérez were sentenced on July 20 to three years in prison and ordered to pay $40 million fine on a libel charge filed by Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. The suit was in response to a column in which Palacio held Correa responsible for having ordered an attack on a hospital during a police uprising on September 30 last year. 

Palacio, in Miami since August 24, announced on his Web site “Emilio Palacio en Internet” that he had fled his country in fear of being arrested before any final court ruling. At the meeting here he said he was hopeful about his case, because of the indignation that the legal action taken by Correa has been arousing among the Ecuadorean people. 

Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, called Palacio on the phone during a meeting the journalist was holding here with IAPA Executive Director Julio E. Muñoz and Press Freedom Director Ricardo Trotti. In the call Marroquín declared his disgust at the campaign to discredit the IAPA that Correa has been waging through state-owned news media. 

On July 18 and 19 this year the IAPA president headed an international delegation that traveled to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito with the objective of looking into a bill for a Communication Law and government-inspired legal actions being taken against journalists and media. After holding meetings with members of the government and Ecuadorean society the mission expressed repudiation of the serious deterioration that freedom of the press is undergoing in the South American nation during Correa’s administration.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.

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