U.S. government calls on Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression

The U.S. government called on Ecuador to guarantee freedom of expression “and to make sure journalists can work without fear of threats or punishments," reported the news agency EFE. The U.S. government also criticized the case of Ecuadorian journalist Cesar Ricaurte, director of the Ecuadorian NGO Fundamedios, who has received death threats for his criticisms against the government, added EFE.

Ricaurte was threatened after criticizing President Rafael Correa's administration before the Inter American Human Rights Commission at the end of 2011. Recently, the president accused the journalist and his colleagues from Fundamedios of being informants for the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador, reported the newspaper El Universo.

After the accusations, Ricaurte sent an open letter to Correa demanding respect and holding the president accountable for his safety. “As a consequence of your attacks, we have received all kinds of threats. You are held accountable for my and my family's safety,” Ricaurte said in the letter.

According to the news agency AFP, Fundamedios reported 156 attacks against the press and journalists in 2011 in Ecuador, and in the first trimester of 2012 there were already 53 complaints. Most of the attacks are from public officials, said a report by Fundamedios at the beginning of April.