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Municipality rejects television station's accreditation request; reporter harassed

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 21 July 2009, Juan Alberto Endara, the general producer for Telecosta television station, told FUNDAMEDIOS that the Municipality of Esmeraldas's director of cultural events, Katya Ubidia Guerra, refused to accept the station's request for accreditation to cover the local beauty pageant.

When the television station asked for an explanation, Ubidia said that she had had a bad experience with Telecosta. She characterised the station as "biased" and said it had not reported on the current municipal administration during the most recent elections.

She also justified her attitude by pointing out that the event would be broadcast live by another television station that had the exclusive rights to it.

Endara noted that this is not the first time the station has been marginalised by the municipality. He said that its reporters have been intimidated and insulted when they cover stories involving officials from the provincial council or the municipality.

FUNDAMEDIOS and IPYS condemn the municipality's attitude towards Telecosta, noting that although one media outlet may have the exclusive rights to cover an event, this should not prevent other reporters from participating. FUNDAMEDIOS calls on the Municipality of Esmeraldas to provide Telecosta, and any other media outlet that requests it, with accreditation to cover the event.

In a separate incident, on 16 July, Fausto Valdivieso, a reporter for TC Televisión - a television station that was recently seized by the state - had insults hurled at him while he was covering a demonstration at the central market in Guayaquil.

According to the journalist, a group of individuals insulted him and accused him of representing the "corrupt press." Approximately 20 individuals then followed him and continued to harass him.

Valdivieso does not know what is behind the insults and threats, but he is certain that the individuals responsible for them were infiltrators interspersed among the market's merchants.

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