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Photographer Roni Zambrano stopped from photographing military base; member of parliament threatens to sue "El Universo" newspaper

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 11 March 2009, Luis Alvarado Loor and Roni Zambrano, a journalist and a photographer with "Diario Súper", were stopped from carrying out their work in the San Eduardo Naval Base, in the city of Guayaquil.

The incident took place when the photographer attempted to take pictures of the base's exterior areas where the door to the financial department had been forced open, according to a report presented to the Public Prosecutor's Office by Navy Officer Juan Beltrán.

An officer, dressed as a civilian, who identified himself as an intelligence agent, stopped Zambrano from taking pictures of the base, which led to a struggle between the journalists and the officer.

Alvarado Loor returned to the Naval Base that afternoon to insist that they be allowed to continue with their work but he was not allowed in.

There are no laws in Ecuador forbidding individuals from photographing or filming the exterior areas of military bases.

In a separate incident on 10 March, Betty Amores, Member of Parliament for the Alianza País party, and president of the National Assembly's Labour and Social Commission, threatened to sue the newspaper "El Universo" for having criticised in an article the latest amendments to the Social Security Law being reviewed by the National Assembly.

The congresswoman accused the newspaper of "lying shamelessly".

President Rafael Correa has been criticising the newspaper in his Saturday radio programme since 2007. He has even gone as far as to urge the public not to buy it.

For further information on President Correa's criticism of "El Universo", see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/100052

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