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Authorities use national telecast to attack two journalists

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 20 April 2011 - On 19 April 2011, the Ecuadorian government dedicated a national telecast to smearing journalists Jeanette Hinostroza and Bernardo Abad, of the Teleamazonas station. The two reporters had commented on and criticised the detention of two citizens who allegedly attacked the President of the Republic a few days earlier.

During the telecast, which was broadcast at 22:00 and lasted for approximately eight minutes, it was stated that the media misinformed the public about the detention of citizen Irma Parra, who was held for ten hours on 13 April because she allegedly made an obscene gesture towards the president.

The telecast was mostly focused on questioning the journalists' moral fibre. Hinostroza was said to "not have acted in an exemplary manner lately, you can ask the presidential security guards about the way she hit them and attacked them in front of the president . . . " This comment was followed by video footage in which the journalist can be seen struggling with a security guard because she was not allowed to ask the chief of state any questions. This incident, which had occurred three years earlier, was presented in the telecast as if it had happened "that same morning".

The telecast also questioned comments Hinostroza had made on her Twitter account about the president's intolerance.

Abad's moral fibre was also questioned. The presenter was said to "not have acted responsibly in connection with such important issues as child support", referring to a personal problem made public a few months earlier.

Fundamedios condemns the government's use of national telecasts to attack journalists and the media. We believe, however, that the Ecuadorian government has gone even further by using personal issues or isolated events which took place three years ago to smear the journalists. We condemn the antidemocratic practices involved in these attacks.

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