New York, March 29, 2010—An Ecuadoran appellate court should overturn the libel conviction of editor Enrique Palacio, and the country’s legislators should reform archaic defamation laws that do not meet international standards for freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Palacio was sentenced Friday to three years in prison in connection with a commentary about a senior government finance official.
The case stems from a defamation complaint filed in October 2009 by Camilo Samán, chairman of Corporación Financiera Nacional, a government agency that grants loans to small businesses, according to local press reports. In a commentary published in the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo on August 27, 2009, Palacio criticized Samán for sending bodyguards to the newspaper to complain about a story concerning the finance corporation, local press reports said. Samán claimed the commentary damaged his reputation.
In rendering its verdict, a court in the
he Quito-based newspaper El Comercio outlined a series of six recent criminal defamation accusations against Ecuadoran journalists.
“We call on Ecuadoran judicial authorities to overturn the
conviction of journalist Enrique Palacio”, said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior
Ecuadoran law also runs counter to the emerging consensus in