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Radio journalist leaves programme after 17 years

(FUNDAMEDIOS/IFEX) - 2 September 2010 - On 31 August, Julio Ayala Sierra left his radio interview and editorial program "Punto de Vista", broadcasted by Radio Atalaya in the city of Guayaquil, because, as he explained, his presence has resulted in the station being blacklisted along with other media outlets that do not receive state advertising because of their critical stance against the government. Ayala Serra pointed out he does not want to jeopardize the continued operation of Radio Atalaya which has been operating for 65 years.

"Punto de Vista" was presented by Ayala Serra and Rafael Cuesta, a former Christian Socialist legislator (the Christian Social Party is criticized by the government) and Andrés Mendoza, the radio station's director and manager. The program has been on the air for 17 years. Ayala Serra has also been a politician, a representative in former legislative periods, and one of the leaders on the National Educators' Union (UNE). Nevertheless, he has said that he is not currently linked to any political party.

The journalist denounced that he has received no state advertising during the current government's three and a half years in power and that he personally confirmed the veto he is being subjected to when a state entity's public relations official mentioned the blacklist. Ayala Serra stated during his farewell speech to his audience: "To step aside is a personal and prudent decision. We are not leaving because we are scared, we shall not be silent. Better days will arrive, you should be sure of that."

In an interview with "Diario Hoy", Roberto Puga, former Image, Advertising and Promotion undersecretary for the Presidency, denied the existence of a blacklist: "that's just gossip, it doesn't exist."

The journalist said that he will continue working for the radio station, on the programs "Cuéntame tu problema" and "Autonomías".

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