Bogotá, February 24, 2020 — Ecuadorian authorities should conduct a quick and transparent investigation into a death threat received by journalist Andrés Mendoza, determine whether it was connected to his work, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On February 19, two unidentified men on a motorcycle traveled to the home of Mendoza’s parents, in the southern city of Guayaquil, where the journalist often stays, he told CPJ in a phone interview. When his parents said he was not there, the men said they intended to kill him, Mendoza said.
Mendoza, a reporter and general manager of the Facebook channel Judio TV, based in the nearby city of Naranjal, said that he reported the threat to the local branch of the attorney general’s office.
Mendoza said that the threat may be related to an investigation he began two months ago into criminal groups that smuggle food, household goods, and other products from Peru and resell them in Naranjal. Mendoza said that his sources for the investigation had recently stopped answering his phone calls.
“Ecuadorian authorities should promptly investigate the death threat against Andrés Mendoza and hold those responsible to account,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. “Authorities in Naranjal must ensure that journalists can report safely and without fear that they will be attacked.”
Mendoza said he intends to finish his investigation and broadcast the report on Judio TV, which often airs stories about local political corruption.
Also in Naranjal, an explosive device detonated in the house of journalist Víctor Aguirre on February 8, as CPJ documented at the time. Neither Aguirre nor his pregnant wife, who were in the house at the time, were harmed in the blast, as CPJ documented.