The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) published a report that highlights that freedom of expression was violated during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ecuador, a country where 23 journalists have died from the coronavirus so far.
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The Standing Committee for the Defense of Human Rights warned that, under the pretext of public security and health emergency, freedom of expression was violated by President Lenin Moreno's administration.
As an example, the report recalls Moreno asked his officials to "verify and make transparent the information" about COVID-19 at a time when the health situation was already unsustainable in Guayaquil, the coastal city that became the pandemic epicenter between April and May.
At that time, videos and photographs of bodies abandoned on the streets began to circulate on social media, while the population remained in quarantine inside their homes.
Galo Martinez, a businessman linked to the local outlet Extra, said that he would not hide reality or yield to political pressure not to publish the pandemic's "strong" images.
In May, thousands of citizens began to protest against the Moreno administration due to mismanagement of the pandemic and budget cuts.
The IAPA report also mentions threats against journalists who reported on acts of corruption in the purchase of drugs, a scandal in which former President Abdala Bucaram is involved.