Report to the IAPA 77 General Assembly Virtual
October 19-22, 2021


During this period harassment and threats against journalists by public officials, members of the National Police, municipal police officers, and even private security guards have intensified.

On the positive side, in May, the National Assembly annulled an article contained in the Integral Organic Law to Prevent and Eradicate Violence against Women and the Integral Organic Penal Code (COIP) - which penalized the invasion of privacy by publishing without consent "using any means of information technology." Press associations considered that the article represented a threat to freedom of expression and limited the work of journalists.

During this period, there were concerns about limitations to access public information. The Comptroller General's Office denied journalists from El Universo access to sworn statements regarding the assets of a group of officials.

In the wake of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) - in which El Universo took part - known as the Pandora Papers, President Guillermo Lasso complained to the newspaper for taking part in a smear campaign against him. El Universo replied that it did not denounce any tax evasion scheme, nor did it accuse the president of any illegalities.

Other relevant developments:

On May 4, a group of Prensa Minera journalists were threatened by illegal miners in Buenos Aires, Imbabura province.

On May 10, José Vinces - a journalist from the Vinces TV Informativo portal - was assaulted and threatened by two police officers while he was covering a story in Huaquillas, El Oro province.

On May 13, Víctor Aguirre - a journalist from VA Televisión de Naranjal - reported that he was threatened by the brother of the mayor of Naranjal.

On May 28, journalist Calixto Zambrano - from Eco FM in Manabí - was shot by two unidentified gunmen as he was leaving the radio station's headquarters in a neighborhood of El Carmen.

On June 23, Cristian Maisincho - from Cotopaxi Noticias - was not allowed to cover events at the Cotopaxi police station, by order of the mayor, Alexis Ortega - who accused the journalist of working for a tabloid media.

On July 1, journalist Odette Camacho - from RTS channel - was physically assaulted while covering the Big Money case.

On July 13, journalist Nicolle Kalil - from TC Televisión's El Noticiero - and cameraman Jorge Ortega were not allowed to be present during a peasant protest against the government.

On July 28, a news crew from Teleamazonas channel was attacked by members of Jacobo Bucaram Pulley's security - who was accused of overpricing medical supplies during the pandemic.

On August 4, the Mil Hojas Foundation's portal suffered a cyber-attack and was taken off the air for several days.

On August 11, motorized police attacked Miguel Laje - correspondent from TC Televisión in Milagro - and journalist Karina Sarabia, while they were covering a murder.

On August 17, journalist Harvey Maya - from HM Noticias - was attacked by five security guards from the private company Alerta Red, in Guayaquil; they stole his work equipment.

On August 25, journalist Mario Pinto - from MP Noticias - suffered a second attack with an explosive device at his home in Machala. Authorities have not yet identified those responsible.

On August 30, Virginia Suárez - a TV program host in Ventanas, Los Ríos province - reported to the Public Prosecutor's Office that she had received threats on social networks.

On October 7, Mónica Almeida and Paúl Mena - from El Universo - were threatened by a businessman accused of money laundering linked to the Police Social Security case.