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President urges legislators to file charges against journalist

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 6 August 2011, during his "Enlace Ciudadano" programme, President Rafael Correa urged the public to file lawsuits against those he calls the "corrupt press". He also spoke disparagingly about journalist Jeanette Hinostroza for having commented on political negotiations related to the appointments within the National Assembly.

President Correa said that Hinostroza has not acted ethically. According to the president, she clearly does not support the national political objectives, hates the Citizens' Revolution government and "believes that because she has a microphone she can choose sides in such a shameless manner, so biased, lacking in ethics and understanding . . . She should limit herself to providing information, reporting on events without giving value judgments," he commented.

The president also said he hopes that Assembly members who have been "offended" by Hinostroza will respond with legal action.

On 3 August, Assembly members Tomás Zevallos and Guillermina Cruz requested, via the Public Prosecutor's Office, that the Teleamazonas television station hand over a recording of the "La Mañana 24 Horas" programme broadcast on the same day, which refers to the names of 11 legislators who cast controversial votes. This preliminary move could lead to legal action against the journalist.

The request sent by Zevallos states that the comments made by Hinostroza "have an impact on my dignity and that of my family and in my case are not truthful. I have not taken part in the Government Block as was maliciously stated . . . "

Hinostroza told Fundamedios that she did not at any time defame or "insult" the Assembly members.

Within this context, President Correa called on the public to launch legal action against "the corrupt press", urging citizens "to denounce and file charges against corrupt journalists and the employers of those journalists who allow them to deceive, defame and hurl insults; to rebel against so much manipulation disguised as freedom of expression."

Fundamedios expresses its concern and condemns the systematic actions against Hinostroza, whom the government has turned into a target for insults and mockery and who could now face the legal action that, according to the president, should be launched by the Assembly members, for the simple act of exercising her right to express an opinion. This is the most recent and clear example of the harassment policy exercised by the government against journalists.

In these circumstances, Fundamedios is obliged to express its solidarity with Hinostroza and denounces the unacceptable harassment she is being subjected to.

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