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Local media team banned from covering referendum vote counting

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 5 February 2011, a team of journalists led by reporter Carlos Sosa, who works for TV station Telecosta, based in the city of Esmeraldas (on the northern coast of Ecuador), was prevented from covering events taking place inside a vote counting room in La Concordia canton.

The journalists had travelled to La Concordia to cover a referendum taking place to decide whether the canton will become part of Esmeraldas or Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas province.

Sosa said that members of the military and police officers prevented them from entering and recording images of the room where the votes were to be counted. They were not given a reason for this. The reporter questioned the officers' decision saying they had discriminated against Telecosta and other Emeraldas' media outlets such as Telemar and the newspaper "La Verdad", among others, to give preference to national media teams who were allowed to do their work unimpeded.

Sosa commented that they had the same experience when his team of journalists tried to record images of the polling stations.

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