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Education Ministry asks daily to hand over copies of article before it is published

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 13 October 2009, the Guayaquil-based daily "Diario Expreso" received a letter signed by Mauricio Oliveros, the coordinator of the education minister's office, requesting certified copies of an article prior to publication.

The letter also requested copies of a previous article where reference was made to an audit carried out by the Comptroller General's office which established the civil and administrative responsibilities of high-ranking officials in the Education Ministry, including the current minister, Raúl Vallejo.

In a response to the request, Galo Martínez Leisker, the executive vice-president of "Diario Expreso", pointed out that the newspaper is only accountable for material that has already been published, since prior censorship is forbidden by the Constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights. According to the newspaper, it only delivers certified copies of articles it has published when requested to do so by the Public Prosecutor's Office, while making use of the constitutional right to protection of sources and other rights that are inherent to the exercise of journalism, as well as the right of citizens to access information.

FUNDAMEDIOS and IPYS also note that the Ministry of Education's request contradicts article 8 of the Inter-American Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, which stipulates that "every social communicator has the right to keep his/her source of information, notes, personal and professional archives confidential".

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