Panama's president lambasts media owners for publishing about corruption scandals

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli lambasted news media owners during a speech Monday, Jan. 2, before the Legislative Assembly, reported the Associated Press. During the speech, Martinelli, who also owns a chain of supermarkets, highlighted the achievements of his administration, such as a reduction in poverty and a 10 percent growth in the economy, contrasting these successes with the media criticisms against him coming from owners upset over paying taxes, according to the news agency AFP.

The bulk of his 40-minute speech was aimed at attacking media owners, going so far as to single out for criticism the independent newspaper La Prensa, whose founder Roberto Eisenmann Jr. has written critically about government corruption and as a result was the target of unusual inspections by tax authorities in Panamá, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.

Recently, the Martinelli administration has been peppered with corruption scandals, such as with the titling of government land to the president's family members and a mysterious purchase of security equipment from the Italian company Finmeccanica, as reported the newspapers La Estrella and la Prensa.