Flash drive attacks in Ecuador: What did the journalists have in common?

Flash drive attacks in Ecuador: What did the journalists have in common?

In Ecuador, sending envelopes with explosives to the media is being investigated as a crime of terrorism. Up to five journalists received pen drives on Monday that were to explode when inserted into the computer. Only one of them worked, and there were no serious injuries in this new attack on press freedom.

Of the five flash drives detected to date, only the one addressed to the journalist Lenin Artieda, who has minor injuries to his hand and face, exploded.

These journalists from different public and private media in Ecuador have in common a great media visibility and a strong political character in defense of democracy.

All the envelopes, loaded with a military-type explosive material, come from the coastal province of Los Ríos. Of these, two were sent to Quito, and three to Guayaquil, a major cocaine export port and the scene of violent disputes between drug gangs.

Journalists’ organizations, however, ask that authorship by an organized criminal organization not be taken for granted, and that political motivation not be ruled out in the investigation.

“It could be an attack of a political nature, given that Ecuador is in the midst of a scenario of uncertainty, of political instability, marked by the political trial against President Guillermo Lasso,” analyzes César Ricaurte, director of Fundamedios, an NGO for the freedom of press in Ecuador.

“These professionals do political journalism and in the last few months they have expressed their opinion on the need to preserve democratic values ​​and democratic stability in the country. When these events occur, they are surrounded by a certain impunity, the investigations do not advance ”, he deepens.

350 attacks against the press in 2022

“We believe that the first investigations are in the right direction,” adds Ricaurte. “We are only concerned that attempts are made to directly attribute organized crime, without further evidence, to organized crime. We trust that the authorities will continue conducting these investigations quickly and rigorously.”

In 2022, one of the worst years ever recorded for the press in Ecuador, four journalists were murdered and more than 350 assaults or attacks were committed.

The NGOs call on the authorities to strengthen protection mechanisms and other media protocols to end these attacks.

Source link