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Martinelli says There Should Be Freedom of Press in Ecuador, Grants Asylum to Ecuadorian Journalist

Article Summary:

The Ecuadorian government was taken by surprise when Panama decided to grant diplomatic asylum to the editor of The Universe, who was sentenced by Ecuadorian courts to three years in prison and fined a million dollars. President Martinelli of Panama said there should remain freedom of press, but this statement is at odds with his own public and private complaints about what he deems is excesses presence of the press in his own country.

Photo Credit: America Economia

Original Article Text From America Economia via Google Translate :

Ecuador: Panama Previously Warned Not Support Attacks On Freedom Of Expression

The regime of President Rafael Correa took him by surprise that the government of Panama decided to grant diplomatic asylum to the editor of The Universe , Carlos Pérez Barriga, sentenced with his brothers Cesar and Nicholas, both assistant principals, three years in prison and payment of compensation millionaire.

“I wonder, would have to talk to (the Panamanian president) Ricardo (Martinelli), but it is their decision, Panama is a sovereign country,” responded Correa, who recalled that his counterpart “is one of the presidents that most private and publicly has complained about the excesses of the press. ”

The news on asylum gave the Panamanian leader on his Twitter account hours after the National Court denied review of the judgment and ratify the sentence. “I just give asylum to journalist Carlos Perez Barriga Universe fined 3 years in prison and $ 40 million fine in Ecuador,” Martinelli wrote.

Despite the perception that Correa had Martinelli with respect to the press and that led him to suppose that he “understands very well what is happening in Ecuador,” foreign policy ahead of Panama on 25 January this year, does not support attacks on freedom of expression.

That day was held in Washington the regular meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), to hear the report of a working group formed to improve the Inter-American Human Rights (ISHR).

Panama, through its permanent ambassador to the agency, William Cochez, said to be improved and not weaken the system, and take special care to ensure the work of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.

“This group (of work) aimed to strengthen inter-American system, therefore, all the results here should be to strengthen and not weaken the human rights system,” said Cochez.

He was referring to Ecuador’s proposal, introduced in the last session of the Working Group, which recommended “equalize” the funding of the eight rapporteurs for the Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which represents dozens of NGOs to reduce the of income is freedom of expression and thereby limit their work to receive and verify reports of damages to the right.

The diplomat said he was aware that “a few, and thankfully a few resent annual reports on Freedom of Expression Rapporteur.”

This related to the suggestion that Rapporteur does not present an independent annual report, but it engages the issuing the Commission.

Cochez called for the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression keep their power of self-management, as the report indicated that it should ban contributions from countries or regions outside the OAS.

On the equivalence of the budget of all proposed rapporteurs Ecuador, Panama emphasized that this should be upwards and not downwards. Was supported by other delegations as the U.S., who asked to agree to prohibit the funding outside the OAS to “stay out of his pocket” and provide enough; Canada, noting that “not accept “interpretations that tend to weaken the financial autonomy of the Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, among others.

About the Code of Conduct that was proposed for the actions of the rapporteurs, the Panamanian ambassador said: “We do not have to a conductar anyone.”

The report was approved unanimously by its 34 member countries. It also makes recommendations to the effect that the Commission be more rigorous when granting relief to persons at risk, although the president of the Commission, Dinah Shelton, said only about “non-binding recommendations.”

Precautionary measures were requested on 24 October last year by the brothers Perez and former editor of The Universe , Emilio Palacio, which are still pending.

Before the report to improve the human rights system was put to the attention of representatives to the OAS Permanent Council was an exaltation of the figure of Eloy Alfaro.

Cochez, on behalf of Panama, recalled that the general had a special bond with his country and: “It became an icon of struggle to strengthen freedom of thought and the press that today many question because they do not favor their governments” .

Correa questions. Suggestions to strengthen the Inter-American Human Rights were adopted after President Rafael Correa questioned in December “gross distortions” of the OAS and of the Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, which he accused of being biased because “it is 80% funded by the U.S. and the European Union (EU)”.

Hearing. The Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, led by Catalina Botero, has issued several press releases about Ecuador since 2011, the IACHR held a hearing on freedom of expression, much of which revolved around trials of the Universe and journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, authors of Big Brother.

Link to Original Article:

From America Economia

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