Colombian journalist attacked, threatened in Ecuador

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  • August 20, 2012

By Liliana Honorato

A Colombian journalist was attacked and threatened by unknown individuals in Ecuador after publishing a detailed report about the lack of freedom of expression in Ecuador and the recent decision of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to give asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, reported the newspapers Hoy and La Hora.

On Thursday, Aug. 16, journalist Orlando Gómez León, the international section publisher of the Ecuadorian newspaper editor La Hora and correspondent for the Colombian magazine Semana, told the Ecuadorian NGO Fundamedios that during his 15 years residing in Ecuador, he never had a similar problem and that he would file a complaint.

However, according to the radio station Radio Caracol, after his report, the journalist received several death threats, and received phone calls that threatened to harm him physically if he didn't stop making Ecuador "look bad."

Referring to the complicated relationship that President Correa has with the Ecuadorian press, Gómez said in an article titled “Ecuador and the Obstacles of the Press,” published in the magazine Semana on Saturday, Aug. 11, that President Correa “created an ingenious apparatus to suppress freedom of expression to be able to control the opposition and keep profiling himself as the only possible future for the country."

The Colombian Federation of Journalists criticized the threats and called on the Ecuadorian government to investigate and to adequately protect the journalist. Through its Twitter account, the Foundation for Press Freedom also criticized the threats and attacks against the journalist.

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.