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Asylum for Assange in Ecuador boosts free expression debate

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - Friday, 14 September 2012 - After the government of Rafael Correa announced it would grant political asylum to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, the issue of freedom of expression in Ecuador has been the focus of many news pieces in the media all over the world.

The Spanish newspaper El País raised the issue under the title “The Assange effect breaks into the Ecuadorian political scene”. The piece stresses that the measure is generating new debates among polarized public opinion. Critics question how the Ecuadorian government will introduce the issue to national politics when Assange, considered by his followers as a defender of the freedom of information, obtained asylum in a country with a regime that does not grant interviews to the principal national private media and has sued journalists, editorialists and newspaper owners for what it considers “defamation” against it.

Another article, “Ecuador's 11 motives to grant asylum to Assange”, argues that one of the most important reasons to protect the Australian journalist is that he is a communications professional who has received awards for defending the freedoms of expression and the press. It also mentions that he shared privileged information about several countries with other media.

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