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Fundamedios welcomes "El Universo" pardon, but calls for continued monitoring of government's actions

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 27 February 2012 - Fundamedios celebrates President Rafael Correa's announcement of the pardon granted to journalist Emilio Palacio, the main executives of the newspaper "El Universo", Carlos, César and Nicolás Pérez, and the company that edits the paper, as a victory for Ecuadorians' freedom of expression.

We highlight the gesture of also including the withdrawal of the civil lawsuit against journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, authors of the book “El Gran Hermano. We consider the international community's unanimous condemnation and internal political consequences as being determining factors in this outcome.

However, we are aware that the content and the tone of the presidential announcement do not encourage a feeling of optimism. They do not lead us to believe that the Ecuadorian government will reverse its policy of constant and systematic harassment against journalists and the private and independent media.

We want to draw attention to the repeated attacks against the Inter-American System of Human Rights, including the IACHR and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. We prompt the international community to remain alert of any attempt to take down or weaken a scheme for the protection of rights that was consolidated with much effort over a long period of time.

We believe that journalists, the media that fight for press freedom, and democratic citizens all over the world should remain alert to what is happening in Ecuador, because those who hold political power have announced they will not cease in their efforts to debilitate the press, not just in Ecuador, but also in the wider world.

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