IAPA Expresses Concern About Threats Against Journalists in Ecuador

Two La Posta journalists left the country, four in 2023

Miami (July 27, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) considered deplorable the lack of guarantees in Ecuador for the practice of journalism, which led in recent days to the departure from the country of Andersson Boscán and Mónica Velásquez of the digital media La Posta. Due to threats in the country, two other communicators have been forced into exile this year.

In a note sent to the IAPA, the founders of La Posta denounced the problematic situation of insecurity, threats against them and their families, and violations of freedom of expression that they have suffered since October 2021. They argue that these are acts of retaliation for their investigations in which they revealed an alleged corruption scheme in public companies where mafias, drug traffickers, and close government associates are allegedly involved.

Andersson Boscán and his wife, Mónica Velásquez, left the country on July 21 due to "the imminent risk and threats against their lives." Journalist Luis Eduardo Vivanco, of that media, was also threatened, but he remains in the country, despite being informed about threats to his life.

IAPA President, Michael Greenspon, expressed "concern for the risk situation journalists face in Ecuador." Greenspon, Global Head of Licensing & Print Innovation for The New York Times, urged the government to "guarantee the safety of La Posta's journalistic team."

The president of the Committee on Press Freedom and Information, Carlos Jornet, editor of La Voz del Interior, Argentina, urged the Prosecutor's Office, the Police, and the authorities to "urgently investigate the threats against journalists and the reasons why four journalists were forced to move to other countries."

Also leaving Ecuador this year were journalists Karol Noroña of the digital media outlet GK, and Lissette Ormaza, of Majestad Televisión, after reporting they had been threatened.

In its mid-year report on Ecuador, the IAPA denounced the attacks by President Guillermo Lasso against La Posta for its investigation called El Gran Padrino, which allegedly involves his brother-in-law in acts of corruption and drug trafficking. He also highlighted the threats and attacks against journalists by organized crime, increased assaults by criminals on journalistic equipment, harassment on social networks, and cyber-attacks.

The IAPA Chapultepec Index on press freedom ranked Ecuador 14th out of 22 countries. The study showed that "in all settings and most dimensions of the Index, the country fell back. The dimension of violence and impunity and the exercise of journalism were the most affected due to, on the one hand, social mobilizations and a particularly violent national strike that caused the media and journalists to censor themselves; and, on the other, to a highly polarized society that harasses dissident opinion."

Ecuador has been facing a crisis of violence that led President Lasso to decree a state of emergency in the provinces of Manabí, Los Ríos, and Durán a few days ago. The measure was ordered after the murder on July 23 of the mayor of Manta, Agustín Intriago, and another person in Manabí, and due to the 58% increase in crimes compared to 2022, according to the Police. The country is preparing for the presidential and legislative elections on August 20 under a blanket of insecurity and violence.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.