Connect to share and comment

A reported blog on happenings around Latin America.

Ecuador president pardons newspaper after libel case

President Rafael Correa had said he was cracking down on "the dictatorship of the media." Now he says, “I never wanted this trial."
Ecuador correa 02 27 2012Enlarge
Ecuador President Rafael Correa speaks during a press conference at the Carondelet presidential palace in Quito on Feb. 27, 2011. Correa announced Monday he was pardoning the executives and a former columnist of El Universo newspaper in a high-profile libel case in which a court levied jail sentences and a $40 million fine. (AFP/Getty Images)

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has pardoned three newspaper publishers and a columnist who had been sentenced to jail and ordered to pay over $40 million in damages to Correa.

The publishers of El Universo newspaper — brothers Carlos, Cesar and Nicolas Perez — and former columnist Emilio Palacio were found guilty of libeling the president after Correa sued them over a controversial opinion article.

Read more: Ecuador libel case pits Correa against the press

The article repeatedly called the democratically-elected leader “the Dictator.”

Correa, a widely popular president compared with the failed leaders before him, tried to throw the same accusation back at the press. 

"They have been talking about a dictatorship and they were right because there's a dictatorship and there's a government that has been fighting that dictatorship, the dictatorship of the media," he said, according to Reuters.

However, the BBC reports that in Correa’s televised statement he said, “I never wanted this trial. I never wanted anyone arrested.”

El Universo’s Carlos Perez was holed up in the Panamanian embassy in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito while the other accused newsmen were believed to be out of the country, according to the BBC.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/ecuador-rafael-correa-pardon-libel-case