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Journalist kidnapped, threatened with death

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 2 December 2010, Guido Manolo Campaña, a sports writer for the newspaper "El Universo", was kidnapped and detained for nearly seven hours while he was working on an investigation in the coastal region of Esmeraldas, 318 km northeast of Quito. During that time the journalist was repeatedly beaten and threatened with death.

The journalist was investigating an alleged identity theft involving a Liga de Quito football player after the newspaper received information about the case. Campaña had travelled to the town of Muisne and was on his way back to the provincial capital of Esmeraldas when the bus in which he was travelling was stopped by a white car from which two persons emerged, armed with guns. The kidnappers got onto the bus and warned the passengers not to intervene by saying: "This does not involve you".

Aiming their guns at the journalist while insulting him, they ordered Campaña to get out of the bus and, with two accomplices who were waiting in the car, left for an unknown destination.

The abductors took him to a house where they tied, beat and threatened him. They let him go six hours later, after reaching an agreement over the phone with "El Universo" staff.

During the time he was held, the criminals demanded that the journalist should reveal who gave him the information that led to his investigation, about a professional football player from the club Liga Deportiva Universitaria.

As well as demanding information, the kidnappers took Campaña's camera, voice recorder, cellular phone and a booklet with all his notes about the investigation. All these materials were destroyed.

They also warned him that they would kill him and attack his family if the investigation was made public.

Neither the journalist nor his family have been provided with protection so far.
Fundamedios reminds the state of its obligation is to provide effective protection to its citizens, especially for those who exercise freedom of expression as part of their profession, as is the case for journalists. For this reason we demand the authorities provide the journalist and his family with the appropriate protection.

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