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Ecuadorian president's staff assigns question to journalist at event

On August 14, 2014 President Rafael Correa, during a discussion with journalists in Loja, a city located in the south of Ecuador, refused to answer a question asked by the journalist Paulina Bustamante from Daily Centinela. She later apologized to the president for not asking a question that had been assigned to her by state officials.

In a video of the encounter, it is possible to see the journalist telling the president that she will not read the question given by the state officers because it is not hers and she prefers instead to convey concerns of citizens regarding the construction of a local highway. It seems that her question, which she had submitted a day earlier, did not end up on the approved list of questions for the president.

After this, Correa got upset with the journalist and ended the conversation. "Too bad we have to end this way, because I have given information and I do not like it when people doubt the president's word. I think your question has been answered," he said.

One day later, the journalist, who preferred not to speak with the media, wrote on her personal Twitter account @Paulina_Bustama "Now they say I'm an enemy of the #Government when I trusted @MashiRafael [President Correa's twitter handle] when he was a candidate, they should try opening their eyes... "

A photograph of the question that had been assigned to Bustamante was also circulating on social media. The question had been submitted by Joffre Íñiguez, a reporter from radio Cariamanga. Also, dozens of support messages for the journalist appeared on Twitter after the incident.

Journalists from Loja were interviewed by Fundamedios and said that the day prior to the event with Correa, the government of Loja had requested that they submit the questions that they would be asking the president. After several attempts to talk to the person in charge of the communications department in Loja, Fundamedios was unable to obtain their version of events.

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