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Government continues attack on Ecuadorian NGO with questions about funding

On 10 May 2013 a "cadena" programme interrupted Ecuavisa's interview program to discredit Fundamedios and its executive director, César Ricaurte, and accuse them of obtaining funds via "another NGO". This was a reaction to an interview Ricaurte gave to the TV station a few days earlier, in which he referred to the hostile climate and the deterioration of freedom of expression in the country.

The cadena, ordered by the National Communications Secretariat, stated that, based on an article published by the State newspaper El Telégrafo about USAID's budget for all projects in Ecuador, "US$4,300,000 are provided by USAID for projects with Fundamedios". "Several Fundamedios activities were financed using another NGO (...) which worked as an intermediary between USAID and Fundamedios. Fundamedios' finances have also been provided for by money from the far right NED and the UNDP. The funding also comes from the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, which has signed several agreements with Fundamedios and of course, the Special Rapporteur's reports are fed with information provided by Fundamedios".

In addition to making this accusation, the cadena questioned the fact that Fundamedios did not report "the high-caliber insults editor Martín Pallares allowed in the newspaper El Comercio" and the verbal attacks against the President of the Republic. "This was never reported as an aggression, Fundamedios never did anything because it seems normal that a journalist should insult a president of the republic. He is a journalist, of course, and for Ricaurte that is enough to be beyond good and evil".

The accusations of triangulation of "millions" of dollars against Fundamedios have been repeated several times by the president.

Fundamedios has clarified that it has taken part in a single project with USAID and has implemented activities for US$264,735.37 over 26 months. It has asked for evidence to back the government's claims.

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