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President calls for sanctions against journalists who commit errors

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 11 June 2011, President Rafael Correa called for sanctions for journalists "acting in bad faith" who make mistakes in their publications. He made this call during his No 224 "Enlace Ciudadano" program broadcast from Pifo, northeast of Quito.

During his program, Correa stated that the press is carrying out a systematic campaign against him, but that in order to avoid this, the National Assembly is in the process of crafting the Communication Law, which will play a "key" part in putting an end to what he calls "the corrupt press", a term he uses to refer to a large number of the country's private media outlets.

After this introduction, the president questioned an article published on 7 June by the newspaper "Expreso" titled, "The tradition invented by Correa for stepping out into the balcony", written by journalist Roberto Aguilar. The article refers to the fact that the ceremony of the changing of the guard of the presidential escort was made public when Correa took office. This information was refuted by the Chief of State who pointed out that the military ceremony had been taking place for the previous seven years.

In reference to the article's author, the president stated " . . . they are full of poison, those sick people out there. What should be the punishment for a person who is so lacking in ethics and professionalism, who has written a whole article based on a falsehood? These are not trivial mistakes; it's a smear campaign against the president and the government implemented by journalists acting in bad faith. Correcting the mistake is not enough; those journalists who falsified the facts should be sanctioned".

Moreover, the Chief of State warned, referring to the debate on the Communication Law that was recently reintroduced in the Assembly, that "thank God I am a co-legislator and I can veto decisions and I will voice my opinion so that the media, whether public, private, community-based or cooperative, cannot decide what information they do or do not publish . . . ".

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