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Television programme cancelled because of report critical of president

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 25 November 2008, Francisco Pinoargotti, director and presenter of Gama TV's program "Buenos Muchachos", which includes entertainment, satire and black humor, said that his program was cancelled arbitrarily following orders issued by the new state-appointed co-manager of the station, Carlos Alvarado.

According to Pinoargotti, the program which was to air on 24 November included some strong criticisms of President Rafael Correa and his role in the seizures made by the Deposits Security Agency (Agencia de Garantía de Depósitos, AGD) of companies linked to financial groups that are indebted to the State.

Pinoargotti said that Alvarado censored the program's contents without explanation and without going through the normal legal procedures. He also criticized Alvarado for ordering that Pinoargotti be prevented from entering the station to remove any journalistic material.

FUNDAMEDIOS (Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de Medios) contacted Alvarado but he did not want to comment on the case. One of the station's high ranking officials felt that Alvarado's decision was a form of censorship.

Alvarado was appointed by the AGD as Gama TV's co-manager after the government body confiscated the company from its administrators on 8 July for having links with a financial group that owes money to the state. In November, Gama TV became property of the state.

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