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President characterises newspaper as corrupt after it criticises the government

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 11 July 2009, President Rafael Correa called the "El Universo" newspaper a "travesty of a paper, the voice of the most pernicious political mafias in the history of Ecuador." The president's comment came in response to a 10 July editorial in the newspaper which criticised the replacement of the Deposit Security Agency's (Agencia de Garantía de Depósitos, AGD) manager and announced the newspaper would be monitoring the actions of the new administration on an ongoing basis. In 2008 the AGD audited 195 companies, several of which were media outlets.

Correa questioned "El Universo" in his programme "La libertad de expresión ya es de todos" ("Freedom of expression now belongs to everyone"), which is broadcast by two television stations and more than one hundred radio stations. He said the newspaper "does not have the moral authority to question anything" and referred to its owners as "corrupt, hypocritical and liars." He also questioned the newspaper's finances, accusing it of keeping its capital in tax havens.

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