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Editor Emilio Palacio threatened after criticising president's radio programme; camera operator José Vallejo assaulted by protesting taxi drivers

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 13 March 2009, Emilio Palacio, editor of the op-ed section of "El Universo" newspaper, received an e-mail in which he and his family are insulted and threatened. The message referred to one of his articles, published on 1 March 2009, in which he criticised President Rafael Correa's radio programme.

According to Palacio, the message was probably sent by somebody close to the president, and is aimed at scaring him so that he will not criticise Correa again.

The journalist said that during his years as a journalist he has received many threats without attaching any importance to them. This one, however, worries him because it mentions his wife and son.

Palacio handed in a letter to the Guayas Provincial Government office, addressed to Ecuador's president, informing him about the threat. A few hours later, the provincial government office informed the journalist that he would be granted police protection.

In a separate development, on 18 March, camera operator José Vallejo, of the GAMA TV network, was assaulted by a mob of demonstrators belonging to the taxi drivers' union, which is protesting against Quito's unregistered taxis.

Vallejo was videotaping the taxi drivers as they let the air out of tires and scratched several cars that were in the area.

When they realised they were being filmed, the taxi drivers assaulted the camera operator, took his camera and deleted the video.

Journalists from other media outlets came to Vallejo's aid and helped the mob to calm down.

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