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Journalist harassed, threatened by unknown individuals

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 6 June 2011 - Journalist Iván Quezada reports that he is being harassed and threatened by unidentified individuals since 14 May 2011. He directs the programme "Cambio de Rumbo", broadcast by El Mercurio radio station, and writes for the online paper Cuencanísimo, based in the city of Cuenca, 450 km south of Quito. Quezada believes he is being targeted because of opinions expressed on his programme and two journalistic investigations he is preparing.

Quezada told Fundamedios that the threats and harassment began one week after the national referendum, when a man got out of a taxi, insulted him and tried to assault him in the middle of the street. The taxi's number plate had been covered up.

The harassment continued through the journalist's personal Facebook account. According to Quezada, a man by the name of Marco Castro, whom the journalist believes is using a fake account, insisted that "if I did not accept him as a friend I would suffer the consequences."

After Quezada refused, the man tried to "friend" some of the journalist's closest relatives on Facebook. He also sent threatening messages to Quezada, saying, "Why do you poke your nose where it doesn't belong?" and "Your reports have hurt a powerful group." He did not mention which group he was referring to.

Quezada has filed a formal complaint with the Azuay Prosecutor's Office, calling for an investigation.

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