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Telecosta TV station equipment damaged by acid attack, Radio Gaviota director threatened

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns an attack on the premises of privately-owned TV station Telecosta and radio station Radio Gaviota in the coastal city of Esmeraldas on 7 April 2009. The NGO Fundamedios said intruders entered the premises through the air-conditioning ducts and threw acid on equipment. Telecosta director Johanna Endara said she did not rule out the possibility that the attack was politically motivated, mentioning the TV station's recent refusal to give advertising space to the municipal government. Her brother, Radio Gaviota's news director, said he had received several threats from the municipal government since the refusal. A member of the city's ruling party even threatened in writing to "set fire" to Telecosta.

"The increase in attacks on the press since the start of the year does not bode well for the general elections due to be held on 26 April," Reporters Without Borders said. "We call on the government, representatives of the main political parties and journalism representatives to quickly get together and agree on a way to protect public freedoms. The election campaign offers an opportunity for a debate on this question. Meanwhile, the attack on this Esmeraldas-based media group must be properly investigated."

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