79th IAPA General Assembly, November 9 - 12, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico


Security forces and public servants were the source of the most significant attacks on press freedom during this period, especially during the August 20 and October 15 elections.

The climate of tension increased after the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio on August 9 by hired killers.

In this context, the secretary general of Public Administration, Sebastián Corral, demanded that journalist Emilia Sánchez of Expreso delete her statement about a corruption case in the Ministry of the Interior and asked the newspaper's editor to fire her.

In addition to the threats to freedom of the press and freedom of expression, there is general insecurity due to the rise of organized crime gangs, the inefficiency of security agencies, and the lack of response from the government of Guillermo Lasso.

In this context, violence against journalists continues to increase, according to reports from press organizations.

More than 160 attacks against journalists and media have been registered this year. Only in July, there were 31 attacks on journalists, according to Fundamedios.

Journalist José Luis Calderón and cameraman José Luis Cedeño, from TC Televisión channel, were assaulted for the second time by armed criminals in Guayaquil.

In addition to physical attacks, journalists are often threatened with death.

Lissette Ormaza, news anchor of Majestad Televisión in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, was the victim of an attack while driving her vehicle on June 23. She suspects that the attack is related to her work and has been receiving death threats for some time.

Blanca Moncada, director of the digital media La Defensa, received death threats on her social networks on July 28 for her investigations into criminal activities.

Journalists and media outlets in Bolivar province reported on August 23 that they received death threats from organized crime. They were demanded to publish a violent video in which they sent a death threat against two people.

Since April, five journalists left the country due to threats: Andersson Boscán, Mónica Velázquez in July, and three others in April, August and October, respectively, whose names are being withheld; and three were relocated within the country in June and October after being intimidated.

Boscán and Velásquez, of the digital media La Posta, left the country in July. Boscán reported that the threats increased when they published their investigation "Gran Padrino", which implicates President Lasso's brother-in-law in a corruption and drug trafficking scheme. Both returned to the country in October.

Luis Eduardo Vivanco, journalist of La Posta, received threats and continues in the country.

Kléver Chica, president of the Ecuadorian Broadcasting Association (AER), asked Interior Minister Juan Zapata to safeguard the media's and journalists' physical integrity.

Other important events:

On May 1, Danny Wilka, director of the digital media Wilar RTV, was the victim of verbal aggression and obstruction of his work while covering the Labor Day march in Guayaquil.

On May 19, journalist Jeannine Cruz, president of the Council for Regulation, Development, and Promotion of Information and Communication (Cordicom), received from unknown persons a floral arrangement with a death threat.

On May 25, Ana Galarza, former assemblywoman of the Government of Lenín Moreno, when launching her candidacy, published a video on her social networks in which she threatened that she would defeat the "mafias of media lynching and disinformation."

On May 29, journalists Kenia Vélez and Yajaira Almeida were assaulted while covering a story in Portoviejo.

On June 5, the newspaper El Comercio dismissed some 50 workers, among them ten journalists, and announced that it would be published only in digital format.

On June 10, journalists José Miguel Alvear, Francisco Gallo, and Steffano Dueñas, from Guayaquil, suffered a violent armed robbery after covering a soccer match.

On June 15, a group of criminals robbed a vehicle with copies of the newspaper Centro in the city of Santo Domingo. The criminals kidnapped the driver for several hours.

On June 24, the National Police canceled the digital transmission of the newspaper El Correo de Machala and assaulted journalist Luis Becerra.

On June 29, the digital media Guayaquil News and the TVC El Comercio television channel suffered hacker attacks on their web page and X account in retaliation for their denunciations of corruption.

On July 5, journalist Cinthya Samaniego of the Chimborazo newspaper La Prensa was intimidated by officials when she tried to interview the province's prefect, Hermel Tayupanda.

On July 6, journalist Miguel Valdez of the digital media Crónica Roja was beaten by a citizen while trying to do live coverage of a murder in Portoviejo.

On July 11, journalist Wilson Cabrera of the digital media Conectados received threats on his social networks after denouncing alleged irregularities by the prefect of Morona Santiago, Tiyua Yunkar.

On July 20, journalists Hugo Vera and Ramón Véliz of Capital TV in Portoviejo were attacked by the security team of presidential candidate Luisa González of the Citizen Revolution movement.

On August 19, investigative journalist and presidential candidate Christian Zurita received death threats from the criminal group Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

On August 31, journalist Alondra Santiago reported threats and insults on her social networks to the Attorney General's Office.

On September 6, the newspaper El Telégrafo, Radio Pública FM, and Ecuador TV received bomb threats and had to evacuate their facilities.

On September 10, economic analyst Walter Spurrier received a telephone threat accusing him of being an "ink hit man." The event occurred after he published in El Universo an article entitled "Venezuela, better than Ecuador?"

On September 12, the director of the Llamingo Ec portal, Jonathan Bonifaz, received a telephone threat against him and his collaborators.

On September 16, former president Rafael Correa again disqualified the media on social networks with his usual insult of "corrupt press."

On September 21, John Lafebre, director of Lo del Momento Loja, was informed that politicians and public officials of Loja province issued death threats against him following his denunciations of corruption cases.

On October 15, during the electoral process, several journalists, including Xavier Rodríguez of Radio Sucre, were attacked while covering the arrival of presidential candidate Daniel Noboa.

On October 18, an El Universo subscription saleswoman received a call from someone who told her he knew where her family worked and lived, demanding that she pay him $ 300 per month.

On October 22, after publishing an article in El Universo, a journalist in Machala received threats from unknown persons who told him, "We are going to kill you for being a toad." Seven days later, the journalist, his mother, and his wife were chased by men on a motorcycle. The co-driver of the motorcycle recorded it for a long time with his cell phone.

On October 30, pamphlets appeared in Manta and Quevedo signed by the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation, threatening journalists that they should not record live and publish videos of the victims of the assassination. They warn that they have already located the newspaper journalist La Marea and that he will be recorded when they are "stinging" him if he continues to report.

At the end of October, two journalists from a radio station in the Amazon region, whose names are being withheld, were relocated to the country after receiving death threats. Fundamedios reported that the victims were warned that they were on a list of people to be "silenced" and that they should refrain from talking about politics and the activity of organized crime groups operating in the Amazon.

Increasingly, there is an attempt to silence the media, conditioning the advertising investment of national, regional and municipal public institutions. Cynthia Viteri, former mayor of Guayaquil, withdrew the advertising of the newspaper Expreso for having published criticisms of her municipal administration; the government of President Lasso also sent an official to threaten the newspaper's directors. President Lasso's government also sent an official to threaten the executives of the newspaper: "Stop criticizing us or we will withdraw your advertising," although the level of official advertising has not been significant.

Also, several media have been sued by fugitives from justice from the underground. The judges admit the lawsuits without the accuser indicating a domicile or exact address, and only indicate Miami-Florida, which is against the law. In this way, the capacity of the media to defend themselves is limited.