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Municipal official threatens to pull radio station's advertising

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 21 October 2011, Karla Jaramillo, communications director for the Municipality of Loja, a city located 640 km south of Quito, threatened Patricio Salinas, director of Radio Satelital, saying she would withdraw all municipal advertising from the station if it did not cut the broadcast of a live interview with a council member by three of the radio's journalists.

This took place minutes after an incident involving Jorge Bailón, the city's mayor, who burst into the radio station uninvited and attempted to interrupt the interview.

Journalists Patricio Salinas, Wilman Morocho and Hugo Pitisaca were talking to councillor Geovanny Aginsaca about the authorization of a two-month holiday for the mayor, when Bailón himself burst in, took Aginsaca's microphone and demanded that the transmission be cut, while the listeners heard what was happening in a live transmission.

Twenty minutes later, the radio station's director received Jaramillo's phone call in which she demanded that the station immediately stop the broadcast or else the municipality would pull its advertising. Salinas refused to cut the broadcast.

Jaramillo later admitted having had a conversation with Salinas but denied the radio station's version of events, calling it ill-intentioned and saying, "They want to make a request appear as a threat." She also stated that the request was made to avoid misinterpretations and so that the mayor's image would not be impacted.

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