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Unidentified individuals throw bomb at television station headquarters; Chávez and Correa propose the creation of a regional body to monitor the press

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 28 May 2009, unidentified individuals threw a homemade bomb at the building that houses the headquarters of Teleamazonas television station. Teleamazonas journalists who were working the early morning shift left the building following the loud explosion.

After inspecting the area, the police determined that the explosion had been caused by a bomb made with a small amount of explosives that apparently had pamphlets inside it.

The bomb did not explode completely and the pamphlets remained inside and were destroyed. There were no casualties as a result of the explosion.

Teleamazonas journalists Jorge Ortiz and Bernardo Abad condemned the attack and said that they will not allow themselves to be intimidated by these types of actions.

President Rafael Correa and other ruling party politicians have spoken out against the station.

The Andean Foundation for the Observation and Study of the Media (Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de Medios, FUNDAMEDIOS) and IPYS call on the authorities to investigate this incident and to provide protection to the media so that journalists can work in freedom and without fear.

In a separate development, on 23 May, during a joint press conference with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, President Correa announced that, when he assumes the presidency of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in July, he will propose the creation of a regional body to monitor and protect governments from the press, which he characterised as an "instrument of the oligarchy".

Correa said that one of the objectives of his time in office will be to "cleanse the country" of a press that he described as "corrupt" and "the principal enemy of change". He also noted that more rigorous laws should be passed to punish abuses committed by the media, which he said are protected by a "false freedom of expression".

These announcements were endorsed by Venezuela's Chávez and took place within the framework of difficult relationships between both presidents and the media in their respective countries.

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