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Radio station evicted from its premises; two photojournalists assaulted

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 8 January 2010, municipal officers evicted Radio Isabela from its premises, interrupting the station's broadcast for two hours. The radio station broadcasts from the Galapagos Islands.

According to the eviction order, it was issued by the municipality because the lease signed by the municipality and the radio station has expired.

Carlos Valencia, the station's director, said the measure was carried out in an "illegal manner," and noted that the electricity cable leading to the building where the radio station is housed was cut.

Valencia maintains that the eviction is a form of reprisal against the station because it has broadcast a series of accusations against mayor Bolívar Tupiza and deputy mayor Byron Gómez. Both are members of the ruling party, Alianza País.

Tupiza refuted this version of events and said the measure was legal and was not carried out as a way to silence the media outlet.

Radio Isabela began operating from a new location, but is concerned about what could happen to its broadcasting frequency.

In a separate incident, on 11 January, José Beltrán and Ronny Zambrano, photojournalists for the "El Universo" and "Súper" newspapers, were assaulted while they were photographing the scene of a car accident which resulted in the death of a Guayaquil criminal prosecutor and her son.

The victims' relatives hit the photographers to stop them from taking any more pictures. Beltrán was wounded and had to be taken away on a stretcher by firefighters.

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