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Journalist threatened after reporting on corruption

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 14 August 2009, Carlos Proaño, journalist and presenter of the Radio Visión program "Notivisión", in Quito, reported that he received a phone call to his mobile during which an unidentified person warned him to look after himself. The message said: "We know you have the documents. We will not be held responsible if you open your mouth".

Since May, the journalist has been investigating corruption in a public entity, allegedly involving high-ranking government officials. Proaño stated that he contacted a source at the institution who had attempted to alert President Correa about this case via an e-mail. The e-mail was intercepted, however, and all employees had to undergo a lie detector test to determine who had written the e-mail.

The journalist then received a message from someone who identified himself as an intelligence officer working for the presidency, who told him that an e-mail had been intercepted which stated that Proaño had documents that amounted to evidence of the corruption. The journalist refused to hand them in.

Proaño finally decided to stop his investigation because his inside source feared for his life.

The journalist also said that in a separate incident on 17 August he was riding his motorbike in the southern area of Quito when he was hit by a car. His shinbone and fibula were broken and he is now awaiting surgery.

FUNDAMEDIOS and IPYS condemn the threats against Proaño that forced him to put an end to his investigation into a case of corruption, thus violating the public's right to be informed. They also urge the authorities to investigate the threats against the journalist and ensure that he can do his work without interferences of any kind.

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