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Telesur correspondent assaulted, motive unknown

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 16 September 2009, journalist Elena Rodríguez, a correspondent in Ecuador for Venezuela's Cadena Telesur TV network, reported that she was beaten and threatened by three armed men in a neighborhood in northern Quito. She does not know what led to the attack. The authorities are investigating the case.

The journalist was driving her car with a friend when the men, who were in another car, blocked her way, pulled her out of the vehicle, threw her to the floor and hit her with the butt of a gun. They then fled. The journalist suffered minor head trauma and bruises all over her body. Her friend was unhurt.

During a press conference, Rodríguez ruled out the possibility that the incident was the consequence of a common crime. On 17 September she received a threatening note composed of letters cut out from a newspaper that read: "you won't save yourself next time, Correa and Chávez's w . . . ". A picture of Venezuela's president appeared under the text. The journalist does not know who sent the threat.

Telesur's president, Andrés Izarra, said that a formal complaint has been filed with the Office of the Organization of American States Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

Congress member María Augusta Calle, former administrator of Telesur's offices in Ecuador, recalled that there was an attempt on Rodríguez's life three years ago when unidentified persons blew up her car. The journalist filed a complaint about the incident but the case was never solved.

FUNDAMEDIOS will investigate the causes of this assault. FUNDAMEDIOS and IPYS condemn the attacks and demand that the authorities guarantee all journalists' safety.

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