New York, February 17, 2017–The Ecuadoran National Police should swiftly bring to justice whoever sent award-winning TV journalist Janet Hinostroza a makeshift explosive device, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The attempted attack took place days before general elections scheduled for February 19.
Hinostroza, a journalist for the television station Teleamazonas, yesterday received a package in the mail containing a DVD labeled “Who is behind the corruption?” she told CPJ. She said she was unable to open the DVD case but could see wires in the package and alerted colleagues, who called the police. According to press reports, the National Police confirmed the package contained a detonator. CPJ honored Hinostroza with its 2013 International Press Freedom Award for her courageous investigative reporting into politics and corruption.
“Ecuadoran authorities should thoroughly investigate this serious incident and prosecute all those responsible,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “In the days leading up to the presidential elections it is critical that journalists are able to report on the problems facing Ecuador without fear.”
“I’m very concerned about what is happening in our country. These are the consequences of the level of violence and confrontation that we’ve gone through in these years. It is a clear threat that I forcefully reject,” Hinostroza told CPJ. “Fear is precisely what they want us to feel. I’m going to try to go on with my life as normally as possible. We must not lose heart. The country needs us.”
On February 15, the president of the National Assembly, Gabriela Rivadeneira, also received a package thought to contain an explosive device. Police said they could not yet confirm whether the incidents were related, according to El Telégrafo.