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Director, editor of state-run newspaper fired

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 25 March 2010, Ruben Montoya, director of the state-run newspaper "El Telégrafo", was removed from his position after he said that he was against the creation of another state-run newspaper, aimed at the general public, which would operate with "El Telégrafo" budget and staff.

In an open letter, Montoya called his dismissal "illegitimate", pointing out that it was caused by his respectful but discordant view on this matter. He stated that the government "manages the public media, but is not its owner."

On 28 March, "El Telégrafo" journalists condemned the censorship and subsequent dismissal of Mariuxi León, editor of the section "Diversidad", who in an opinion piece referred to Montoya's departure, thanking him for his work in the newspaper and describing the situation at the paper by saying "there are no gentle currents in here". She also criticised the plans for the creation of another paper.

The journalists reported through Facebook that León was not allowed to enter the newspaper's premises. They also published her article, which should have appeared in the paper but was replaced by a cartoon.

A few months ago, Montoya and a group of journalists expressed their concern about the government's plan to edit a populist-style newspaper which, according to critics, would be a means for spreading propaganda about the government's political agenda.

Fundamedios and IPYS urge government authorities to respect the editorial independence of all public media. The organisations also request that regulations regarding public media, defining their objectives, characteristics and mission, should be included in the National Assembly's Occasional Commission on Communication Laws.

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