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Ecuadorian radio programme cancelled after contentious interview

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 4 December 2012 - On Wednesday 28 November 2012, journalist Andrés Carrión was notified that his program "Regresando con Andrés Carrión", broadcasted by Radio Armónica of Quito, would be cancelled. He had recently interviewed Santiago Villa, director of the censored documentary "Rafael Correa: portrait of a Father of the Nation". The interview had upset the station's owner, Jorge Yunda, a current candidate for a position in the Assembly for the ruling party Alianza País.

In an interview with Fundamedios, Carrión said that he had been co-producing the afternoon news program, which was very popular, for 20 months. However, on 28 November the station manager, Nicolás Vega, informed him that the program could not go on.

"On Monday 24 we interviewed Santiago Villa, the documentary director. This caused the station manager to call me last Wednesday to tell me that we could not continue and that the program had to end, that it was better to end the show without major tensions or difficulties", stated the journalist.

The notice came two days after the interview with Santiago Villa, who reported that his documentary had been censored in the United States by pressure exerted on AméricaTeVe station in Miami. The Presidency's Communication Secretary, Fernando Alvarado, admitted this in another radio interview.

Villa has been questioned by senior government officials who have dismissed him as a "killer of the truth" and "paramilitary", as well as accusing him of being funded by former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez.

On 30 November Carrión announced on his Twitter account "Today is my last program of 'Regresando con... Andrés Carrión' on Radio Armónica. I bid farewell to the audience. Many thanks to you all, a hug".

Carrión believes what happened to his program "is part of the stormy relationship between the government and the media. This kind of pressure or censorship that prevents us from having a more fluid, plural and democratic task is part of it," he pointed out.

When contacted by Fundamedios, the manager of Radio Armónica, Nicolás Vega, said that Carrión's co-production contract had ended this month and the journalist had asked for holidays until January, so that they will renegotiate whether he continues or not with the program in the new year.

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