Field Investigation: Institutionalized harassment of the news media

first_img Three days before the 19 March presidential election, Reporters Without Borders today publishes a report about the programmed disappearance of a free press in Belarus. It is based on information gathered during a visit to Minsk from 2 to 7 March, when the organisation talked to both independent journalists and journalists working for the government.read in Russian Help by sharing this information Related documents report BelarusPDF – 158.31 KBreport BelarusPDF – 160.01 KB May 28, 2021 Find out more News Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown News Reports Organisation March 16, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Field Investigation: Institutionalized harassment of the news media “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says RSF_en center_img June 2, 2021 Find out more News read in RussianAs tension mounts in Belarus three days before the 19 March presidential election, Reporters Without Borders today issued a report on the harassment of independent journalists by President Alexander Lukashenko’s government apparatus, which is currently cracking down hard on Belarusian journalists, foreign correspondents and the regime’s political opponents.The report is based on information gathered by a Reporters Without Borders team during a visit to Minsk from 2 to 7 March. The team met representatives of independent media, press freedom organisations and opposition movements all currently in the government’s sights.During its 12-year rule, the Lukashenko regime has almost eliminated the independent press and has completely eradicated opposition media. Lukashenko regards the news media as “the main measuring device of ideology, at the base of the state.” Government propaganda lambasts the independent media, calling them dishonest. Now running for his fourth term, Lukashenko has almost complete control of the press and harasses his detractors.At least four foreign journalists have been expelled from Belarus so far this year, while at least four other Ukrainian and Polish journalists were arrested between 12 and 15 March and given sentences ranging from five to ten days in prison. Meanwhile, at least 10 foreign reporters wanting to visit Belarus for the elections are still waiting for visas.On 2 March, at least nine journalists were arrested and beaten by plain-clothes policemen while covering the arrest of opposition candidate Alexander Kazulin.Around 57,000 copies of the independent newspaper Narodnaya Volya were confiscated on 13 March, a week after the banning of a special issue on Kazulin’s candidacy with a print run of 250,000. A Russian printing company meanwhile announced on 13 March that it was terminating its contracts with three independent Belarusian newspapers which had been covering the programmes of the opposition candidates.Adept at Soviet-style methods, the Belarusian secret services claimed yesterday on television that a US-backed coup attempt had just been thwarted. BelarusEurope – Central Asia BelarusEurope – Central Asia RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” Receive email alerts to go further May 27, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Belaruslast_img read more

Reporters Without Borders calls on the US Army to investigate death of Iraqi ABC cameraman

first_img to go further Follow the news on Iraq Reporters Without Borders has called on the US Army to open an immediate investigation into the death of Iraqi cameraman Bourhan Mohammad al-Louhaybi, who was shot in the head while working for the American ABC television network. RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” February 15, 2021 Find out more Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” Organisation Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan The cameraman was killed while covering clashes between US forces and groups of armed Iraqis in Falluja, 50 kilometres west of Baghdad on 26 March.The international press freedom organisation, which expressed shock and anger at his death, said that a doctor at Falluja general hospital had told Agence France-Presse that the bullet that killed the cameraman was “identical to those we have seen in other cases of people wounded by US soldiers”.ABC News confirmed the death of al-Louhaybi, 34, on its website. The cameraman had reportedly wanted to go on filming the clashes against the advice of some of his colleagues. Four other Iraqis were killed during the combat.Calling for an immediate US Army investigation into the circumstances of this very serious incident, Reporters Without Borders said that if it turned out the cameraman had been hit by an American bullet it would bring to seven the number of journalists killed by US forces in the last year.The organisation called on the US Army Chief of Staff to promptly send very clear orders to its troops about protection of civilians, particularly journalists, during clashes.Elsewhere, the US weekly Time Magazine has confirmed the death of one of its Iraqi interpreters, Omar Hashim Kamal, who died in Baghdad on 26 March after being shot in circumstances that are still unclear. News News March 27, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders calls on the US Army to investigate death of Iraqi ABC cameraman Help by sharing this information IraqMiddle East – North Africa December 28, 2020 Find out more News Receive email alerts IraqMiddle East – North Africa News RSF_en December 16, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Journalist released but placed under house arrest over articles in 1960s

first_img News RSF_en RSF and 60 other organisations call for an EU anti-SLAPP directive Follow the news on Italy December 2, 2020 Find out more A Milan judge ordered Stefano Surace’s release on 16 August because of hisage and state of health, but placed him under house arrest at his daughter’shome in Naples. He left prison the same day. The authorities are stillpressing the charges against him, but his lawyer, Vitorio Trupiano, is aboutto file a request for the annulment of his arrest. Ten RSF recommendations for the European Union November 23, 2020 Find out more Receive email alerts News A Milan judge ordered Stefano Surace’s release on 16 August because of hisage and state of health, but placed him under house arrest at his daughter’shome in Naples. He left prison the same day. The authorities are stillpressing the charges against him, but his lawyer, Vitorio Trupiano, is aboutto file a request for the annulment of his arrest.______________________________________________________________12.08.2002 – Journalist imprisoned over articles in 1960s ItalyEurope – Central Asia center_img August 16, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist released but placed under house arrest over articles in 1960s News Help by sharing this information News On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia ItalyEurope – Central Asia Organisation  Reporters Without Borders expressed its outrage over the imprisonment of former journalist Stefano Surace (photo), 69, for supposed press crimes committed more than 30 years ago.The case is “doubly scandalous”, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. “To sentence journalists to imprisonment for press crimes is contrary to UN standards, but it is unworthy of a democratic country to jail an elderly man who has not been a journalist for years for crimes that should be subject to limitation by lapse of time and which would nowadays not even be the subject of prosecution,” he said. “We call on you to intervene and pardon Stefano Surace so that he can be released”, the letter added. “We also call for the removal of prison sentences for press crimes from Italian law, as recommended by the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN Special Rapporteur on promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”Surace, who edited the nonconformist publication Le Ore during the 1960s, has been incarcerated since December 2001 in Opera prison near Milan, where he is serving a sentence of two years, six months and 12 days stemming from convictions for libel and obscenity handed down in 1963 and 1967. A resident of France for almost 40 years, he was arrested when he went to visit a friend in Italy.He was known for his investigations into prison life and, while still a journalist, had founded an association of former detainees. He had ceased to work as a journalist before these convictions and had become a ju-jitsu teacher. to go further November 19, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Hamdi Al-Bakari attacked, Bushra Al-Maqtari and Mohammed Al-Hozayfi injured

first_img Help by sharing this information March 17, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Hamdi Al-Bakari attacked, Bushra Al-Maqtari and Mohammed Al-Hozayfi injured Organisation RSF_en center_img News Pro-government thugs attacked an Al-Jazeera crew as the station’s correspondent, Hamdi Al-Bakari, was covering violence against demonstrators in the province of Taiz. Journalist, writer and activist Bushra Al-Maqtari was injured when security agents tried to disperse a sit-in in Freedom Square in the city of Taiz. Mareb Press reporter Mohammed Al-Hozayfi was also injured when anti-riot police threw stones and used teargas to disperse the protesters. last_img read more

India: Officials seal office of Kashmir Times in Srinagar

first_imgBhasin thinks she is paying the price for her determined defence of a free press in Jammu and Kashmir since the region’s autonomy was revoked in August 2019 and, in particular, for the petition she filed with India’s supreme court challenging the simultaneous decision to disconnect the region’s telecommunications. IndiaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesMedia independenceProtecting sources “The arbitrary way the Kashmir Times’ journalists were expelled from their office is extremely shocking,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “The Jammu and Kashmir administration no longer even bothers to provide a legal facade to the actions it takes to attack the free press. We ask India’s supreme court to intervene in this flagrant violation of article 19 of the constitution.” India: RSF denounces “systemic repression” of Manipur’s media “Since then, the state government stopped all advertisements to Kashmir Times, she said. RSF_en Local officials evicted journalists from the office of the English-language Kashmir Times newspaper yesterday in Srinagar, the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, and then sealed the premises. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by this reprisal against a leading regional daily. RSF demands release of detained Indian journalist Siddique Kappan, hospitalised with Covid-19 Kashmir Times executive editor Anuradha Bhasin called it a “vendetta for speaking out.” She told RSF: “All our office infrastructure, including computers, printers, generators and so on, are locked inside to prevent us from producing our print edition in Srinagar.” October 21, 2020 India: Officials seal office of Kashmir Times in Srinagar April 27, 2021 Find out more June 10, 2021 Find out more The executive editor of Kashmir Times, Anuradha Bhasin (photo: TwoCircles.net). The Jammu and Kashmir regional government had been renting the premises to the newspaper since 1993, as it does to other media outlets based in Srinagar’s so-called “press enclave.” Bold journalism Bhasin said she was evicted in a similar manner a few weeks ago – without being served any cancellation and eviction notices – from the apartment the government had allotted to her in 2000. In rural India, journalists face choice between covering pandemic and survival to go further Broken locks “Many of the journalists based in Jammu and Kashmir started their careers at the Kashmir Times,” said Syed Ali Safvi, another of its former reporters. “Over the years it has given voice to the voiceless and established itself as an institution you could trust. It is really painful to learn that its office has been sealed.” Help by sharing this information IndiaAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesMedia independenceProtecting sources News News India is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. One of the oldest English-language publications in the Kashmir Valley, the Kashmir Times is widely respected, so its eviction from its Srinagar office had stunned many of the region’s journalists. News Follow the news on India News “I started my journalistic career at this newspaper, which has traditionally been fiercely independent,” Athar Parvaiz told RSF. “The atmosphere encouraging fearless journalism at the Kashmir Times has always been great and I benefited enormously while working there.” The eviction was carried out by representatives of the regional government’s estates department, who arrived unannounced, expelled the newspaper’s employees without presenting any justifying documents, and then placed seals on its entrance. “Locks to my flat were broken, as I was not staying there, and the new [tenants] were given charge of the place along with my belongings, including valuables and important documents that have not still not been given to me,” she said. Organisation Receive email alerts March 3, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Ailing TV reporter freed after 189 days in prison

first_img November 12, 2019 Find out more Tunisia : RSF asks Tunisian president’s office to respect journalists News Organisation to go further Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday’s release of Fahem Boukadous, a correspondent for the satellite TV station El Hiwar Ettounsi, after 189 days in detention. He had been serving a four-year jail sentence for allegedly participating in protests in the Gafsa mining region, 350 km south of Tunis, in 2008.Originally imposed in his absence, the sentence was confirmed by a Gafsa appeal court on 6 July and Boukadous was arrested nine days later. He was convicted on a charge of “forming a criminal association liable to attack persons and their property” although all he did was provide his TV station with footage of the protests.Boukadous is a chronic asthma sufferer whose health suffered a great deal during his six months in jail.He was released following the 17 January announcement by Mohamed Al-Ghannouchi, the provisional government’s prime minister, that all of Tunisia’s prisoners of conscience are to be freed. Ammar Amroussia, the news website Al-Badil correspondent who was arrested on 29 December, was released from prison on the morning of 17 January.Reporters Without Borders notes the provisional government’s promises to respect freedom of information and expression and is waiting to see if they are kept. Follow the news on Tunisia TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa Receive email alerts RSF_en Newscenter_img Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics” News November 11, 2020 Find out more Help by sharing this information News December 26, 2019 Find out more TunisiaMiddle East – North Africa Eleven organizations from civil society create the Forum on Information & Democracy, a structural response to information disorder January 20, 2011 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Ailing TV reporter freed after 189 days in prisonlast_img read more

Amid more Internet censorship, Yahoo! asked to explain attacks on email accounts

first_img June 2, 2021 Find out more March 31, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Amid more Internet censorship, Yahoo! asked to explain attacks on email accounts News Help by sharing this information RSF_en ChinaAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures Follow the news on China to go furthercenter_img Reporters Without Borders is concerned about repeated cases of censorship and cyber-attacks on the Chinese Internet. The Yahoo! email accounts of several foreign journalists based in China have been the target of hacker attacks in recent weeks. The Chinese version of Google’s search engine, based in Hong Kong since 22 March, has been subject to intermittent censorship in recent days but appeared to be functioning normally again this morning.“We urge Yahoo! to recognise the need for transparency and provide information about the nature and extent of these cyber-attacks,” Reporters Without Borders said. “If its clients are not given the information they need, Yahoo! could appear to be protecting those responsible for these attacks. Are they generalised attacks on Yahoo! email servers in China or are they targeted attacks on human rights activists and journalists like the ones that affected Google at the end of last year? And how long have they been going on?”“The Chinese authorities must explain how they are combating these kinds of cyber-attacks, which are totally contrary to Chinese laws,” Reporters Without Borders added. “Cyber-security is also at stake in this matter.”As regards the intermittent censorship of Google.com.hk in recent days, which Reporters Without Borders has been following closely, the press freedom organisation said: “It is still too soon to say whether the blocking of the Chinese version of Google’s search engine was deliberate or the result of a technical error, whether it can be seen as a warning to the Internet giant from the Chinese authorities, and whether they are paving the way to blocking the site completely, which would be an act of censorship and a violation of free expression.”Many search attempts yesterday using Google.com.hk yielded no result, unlike searches using Baidu. Even searches for such basic words as “China” yielded an error message. The problem was chiefly seen in the Beijing area, while Shanghai was less affected. Google initially attributed the problem to internal technical settings, specifically, to the fact that the code identifying the search parameters contained the sequence of three letters “rfa”, which was being blocked by the Great Firewall of China because the firewall has been programmed to deny access to the website of the US news radio station RFA (Radio Free Asia).This theory was later discounted amid signs indicated that the blocking was deliberate. Access to Google’s mobile phone services have also apparently been partially blocked since 28 March.Until the intermittent disruption of the past few days, the uncensored Chinese version of Google’s search engine, Google.com.hk, had been displaying the results of searches using sensitive words but, in China, the Great Firewall blocked access to the links listed in the results.China’s censors have been very active of the subject of Google. The State Council’s Information Bureau issued directives restricting coverage of Google’s decision to stop censoring its search results and close Google.cn. Documents obtained by Chinese Human Rights Defenders on 28 March show that website editors were instructed to “use only articles from official media” and “not carry out any investigative reporting” into the story. They were also told to “ban discussions about Google” and “not use press releases and information coming from Google.”The cyber-attacks that prompted Google to close Google.cn have not stopped. According to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), the Yahoo! email accounts of at least 10 foreign journalists based in China and Taiwan have been attacked in recent weeks. The FCCC accuses Yahoo! of failing to respond to its questions and failing to explain to its clients what happened.The accusations were reported by Clifford Coonan of The Irish Times, who said he got an error message when he tried to access his email account. Yahoo! simply said in a statement that it was “committed to protecting user security and privacy.”American freelancer Kathleen McLaughlin, the victim of one of these attacks, told Reporters Without Borders today: “I attempted to log in on 25 March and was given a message that said my account had some problems and I needed to contact Yahoo! by phone for security purposes. After five days of attempting to do so, my account was finally restored this morning. Yahoo! has still not explained who accessed the account, when and how they noticed the hacking and what information might have been disclosed. I’m happy I don’t use the Yahoo! email for sensitive work.”Cyber-attacks similar to the ones against Google have been identified in Vietnam. Tens of thousands of Internet users who thought they were downloading ordinary software were infected with malware which, according to Google, spied on users and launched DDoS-type attacks on blogs with dissident content.The attacks above all targeted websites containing criticism of a Chinese company’s operations at Vietnamese bauxite mines, a sensitive subject in Vietnam. The Internet security company McAfee, which detected the malware, went so far is to suggest that its creators may have links with the Vietnamese government.Zhao Lianhai, the editor of Internet Kidney Stone Babies, a website about infants who were affected by China’s tainted baby formula, was meanwhile tried behind closed doors yesterday on a charge of inciting social disorder. Zhao has been detained since November 2009. The verdict has not yet been announced. China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News April 27, 2021 Find out more Organisation News News ChinaAsia – Pacific March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Cyber-freedom prize for 2006 awarded to Guillermo Fariñas of Cuba

first_img December 13, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Cyber-freedom prize for 2006 awarded to Guillermo Fariñas of Cuba ————-Create your blog with Reporters without borders: www.rsfblog.org For more information about the prize and the winners in the other categories News CubaAmericas May 6, 2020 Find out more October 15, 2020 Find out more News to go further Yang Zili, ChinaComputer technician Yang Zili was sentenced on 28 May 2003 to eight years in prison for “subversion”. His “crime” was to post articles on his website lib.126.com, “the garden of Yang Zili’s ideas”, in which he wrote about his support for political liberalism, criticised the crackdown on the spiritual movement Falungong and condemned the economic woes of China’s peasants.He was only 30 when he and his wife were arrested on 13 March 2001. “It was like the films about the cultural revolution”, his wife, Lu Kun later said. They ransacked my apartment and held and questioned me for three days in the cellars of a police station. It was only when I returned home, without my husband, that I began to cry.”This is the fourth time that Reporters Without Borders has awarded a “cyber-dissident” prize. The previous three years’ winners were:- 2003 – Zouhair Yahyaoui, Tunisia – 2004 – Huang Qi, China – 2005 – Massoud Hamid, Syria RSF_en Receive email alerts Help by sharing this information Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet October 12, 2018 Find out more Guillermo Fariñas Hernández, CubaHe is fighting for Cubans right of access to a “free Internet”Guillermo Fariñas, “El coco”, head of the independent news agency Cubanacán Press, began a hunger strike in February 2006 to demand the right for all Cubans to have access to a “fee Internet”. The authorities hospitalised him and put him on a drip to try to end his campaign, which was widely covered in the international media.After he had spent several months in intensive care suffering from kidney and heart problems, the authorities told Guillermo Fariñas he could have “limited” access to the Internet. He refused, explaining that he could not honourably exercise his profession as a journalist by looking only at news and information which had been filtered by the government.“El coco” only ended his hunger strike on 31 August after a brush with death and the loss of 15 kilos. He is continuing his work at Cubanacán and has become one of the leading voices among Cuban opposition journalists. He also still keeps the foreign media up to date with human rights violations in his country and in particular passes on information about intimidation and harassment of independent reporters.Cubanacán, founded in 2003, is the leading news agency of the new generation of Cuban journalists. None of its 17 reporters has the right to use the Internet or fax to send articles abroad. Their reports are mostly filed from public telephones. Since telecommunications charges are very high, the calls are mostly placed by collect.Internet in Cuba, a network under tight surveillanceThe Cuban government uses a variety of tools to ensure the Internet is not used to “counter-revolutionary” ends. First of all, private Internet connections are more or less banned. Cubans wishing to surf the Net or check their emails have to go to public places such as cybercafés, universities, youth computer clubs and so on, where it is easier to keep checks on what they are doing. Then, Cuban police have installed software at all cybercafés and big hotels which sends out an alert as soon as “subversive” key words are entered. The government also depends on self-censorship. In Cuba, one can be sentenced to 20 years in prison for posting a few “counter-revolutionary” articles on foreign websites and to five years simply for going online illegally. Few Internet-users dare to take such a risk to defy state censorship. Organisation News Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas, who staged a long hunger strike to demand unrestricted Internet access for all Cubans, was today awarded the 2006 Reporters Without Borders – Fondation de France press freedom prize in the Cyber-Dissident category. Yang Zili of China and Habib Saleh of Syria were the two other nominees in this category. RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago CubaAmericas New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council Follow the news on Cuba News The other 2006 nominees in the “Cyber-dissident” category were:Habib Saleh, SyriaPresident Bashar al-Assad has made Syria into one of the worst ‘black holes’ in the Internet. He has set up systematic filtering of online opposition publications and sent his political police to mercilessly track down dissidents and independent journalists expressing themselves online.Writer and businessman Habib Saleh, 59, has paid the price of this systematic repression. On 29 May 2005, he was arrested at his office in Tartus, 130 kilometres north of Damascus. He was sentenced to three years in prison at the end of an unfair trial at which he was accused of “spreading lies” on the Internet.last_img read more

Reporters Without Borders condemns unfair trial of Du Daobin

first_img News RSF_en Help by sharing this information It was not the first time that Du Daobin had been deprived of a lawyer. One 3 November 2003, his counsel Li Qingqiang had his licence withdrawn by his own law firm, preventing him from defending his client. Du then chose Mo Shaoping, only to be in turn deprived of his services.Background :Du Daobin, 40, was arrested on his way home on 28 October 2003. Police seized computer equipment, hand-written letters, address books and foreign-published books. They also “strongly advised” his wife, Xia Chun-rong, and 12-year-old son to have no contact with foreign journalists. Police also told Xia that her husband had gone “too far”.Du posted a large number of pacifist articles on the Internet arguing for greater freedom of expression in China. He actively called for the release of student Liu Di, who was imprisoned for posting articles on online forums calling for democracy in China. She was released on 28 November 2003 after more than a year of imprisonment without trial.The prosecutor’s office in Xiaogan told police on 10 February 2003 that there was not enough evidence to charge Du with “incitement to subversion”. His file thus went back to the Public Security office. A week later, after nearly four months in custody, Du’s arrest was made official. He was then charged by Hubei province public security office with “incitement to subversion and to the overthrow of the Chinese socialist system”, in relation to around 30 online articles. Follow the news on China Reporters Without Borders described as “shocking” the opening on 18 May of the trial of Du Daobin for “incitement to subversion” before the intermediate peoples’ court in the city of Xiaogan, Hubei province, central China.Du’s lawyer Mo Shaoping who was only notified on 14 May found it impossible to reach the city in time and Du was therefore appointed a lawyer, Li Zongyi. This lawyer refused to enter a not guilty plea, despite the demands of the cyberdissident. The trial was held behind closed doors.The international press freedom organisation condemned the denial of his right to a fair trial. “The authorities forced Du to plead guilty, showing their willingness to employ any means to silence dissident voices,” it said. ChinaAsia – Pacific Receive email alerts China: Political commentator sentenced to eight months in prison News China’s Cyber ​​Censorship Figures June 2, 2021 Find out morecenter_img to go further ChinaAsia – Pacific News May 21, 2004 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Reporters Without Borders condemns unfair trial of Du Daobin April 27, 2021 Find out more Democracies need “reciprocity mechanism” to combat propaganda by authoritarian regimes Reporters Without Borders described as “shocking” the opening on 18 May of the trial of Du Daobin for “incitement to subversion” in the city of Xiaogan. Du’s lawyer Mo Shaoping who was only notified on 14 May found it impossible to reach the city in time. Du was therefore appointed a lawyer, Li Zongyi who refused to enter a not guilty plea. News Organisation March 12, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

President urged to drop “insults” complaint against journalist

first_img Receive email alerts News News Coronavirus: State measures must not allow surveillance of journalists and their sources Yours sincerely, to go further Reporters Without Borders called today on President Rafael Correa, in an open letter, to drop his lawsuit against editor Francisco Vivanco, of the daily paper La Hora, for alleged “insults,” which could send the journalist to prison for up to two years as well as paying a heavy fine. May 21, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 President urged to drop “insults” complaint against journalist EcuadorAmericas Mr Rafael CorreaPresident of EcuadorDear Mr President,Reporters Without Borders is alarmed at the lawsuit you filed on 10 May against managing editor Francisco Vivanco of the daily paper La Hora accusing him of “insulting” you in an editorial the day before. If convicted, he faces between six months and two years in prison under article 230 of the criminal code as well as a heavy fine. Vivanco criticised you in the editorial for “ruling in a frantic manner, with sticks and stones,” as shown by recent clashes between government and opposition supporters. You asked him to publicly apologise in return for dropping the lawsuit but he refused. We think the charge of “insulting the president” because of the editorial is very excessive and we deplore the fact that such a charge, which belongs to another era, is punishable by imprisonment. In a democracy, politicians can by definition be publicly criticised. If Vivanco is convicted, it will be a dangerous precedent for Ecuador’s journalists. We are also concerned about your recent description of the media as “corrupt and mediocre.” We ask you, for the sake of freedom of expression and editorial diversity, to drop your lawsuit against Vivanco. Robert MénardSecretary-General RSF_en Organisation Two months before Assange’s extradition hearing, RSF calls for his release on humanitarian grounds and for US Espionage Act charges to be dropped Help by sharing this information Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives June 15, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Ecuador December 24, 2019 Find out more EcuadorAmericas News News April 10, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more