Journalists ordered to pay president $2m

2012-02-08 09:57
Quito - An Ecuadoran court has ordered two journalists to pay President Rafael Correa $2m in damages in the latest high-profile court case testing freedom of expression in the South American nation.

Journalists Juan Carlos Calderon and Christian Zurita were ordered to pay the president $1m each by a criminal court in the province of Pichincha for his "pain and suffering", defence lawyer Ramiro Aguilar said on Tuesday.

The two journalists wrote the book El Gran Hermano (Big Brother), which describes contracts the state awarded the president's brother, Fabricio Correa, worth a total of $167m.

Correa denies he knew of these deals ahead of time and said he moved to stop the contracts once he learned of them. The president sued, seeking $10m, in his latest offensive against what he calls a "corrupt" news media.

Calderon, who was with his lawyer examining the decision, said he would appeal the ruling calling for each of the journalists to pay $1m, and the awarding of $100 000 in legal costs.

He called the damage award "disproportionate, absurd and irrational" and claimed the lawsuit was an effort "to punish the work of journalists".

Stifling press freedom

The president's lawyer, Gutemberg Vera, said however the lawsuit was based on a work "intended to damage the reputation" of Correa and added that "given the bad faith... it is impossible to reach a reconciliation".

But Correa reaffirmed that if the journalists were to admit they "lied", he would drop the proceedings. "They are being tried for being liars, not for being journalists," he said.

This is the second prominent case involving the president in Ecuador, which has passed new laws that critics say stifle freedom of the press.

Correa sued the newspaper El Universo in March 2011 alleging "defamatory libel" over a column by former opinion page editor Emilio Palacio that accused the president of crimes against humanity.

A lower court judge ruled against the newspaper in July, handing down the $40m judgment and prison sentences against the newspaper's publisher, Carlos Perez, deputy directors Cesar Perez and Nicolas Perez, and Palacio, who fled to Miami. An appeals court upheld the sentence in September. The case is pending in the Supreme Court.

- SAPA
Read more on:    rafael correa  |  ecuador  |  media
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.