After criticisms for ending initiative to protect national park, Correa calls to dispose of print dailies to save paper

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  • August 20, 2013

By Alejandro Martínez

After receiving criticism for putting an end to an initiative that sought to prevent drilling for oil in parts of the Yasuní National Park, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said on Twitter on Monday that he will propose a referendum to eliminate the country's print media in an alleged effort to save paper.

"Now the biggest 'environmentalists' are the mercantilist dailies. Well, if we have a popular referendum, we will also propose to have digital-only dailies to save paper and avoid excessive logging, "said Correa through the social network.

The director of the Ecuadorian Association of Newspaper Publishers Diego Cornejo told AFP it was too early to know whether Correa actually would move forward with such consultation.

"... The president has the power to call the referendums he wants to, and ask if people want to eliminate the circulation of print newspapers," Cornejo said.

Last Thursday Correa announced the end of an initiative that sought to prevent drilling for about 846 million barrels of oil located under several fields in Yasuní National Park. The park is part of the Amazon and is considered a Natural Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO.

The initiative was launched six years ago and wanted to leave the environmental area intact in exchange for an international economic contribution of $3.6 billion. However, after three years it only managed to raise $ 13.3 million through a trust fund managed by the United Nations.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.