Ecuador's Correa to close private TV station for 'spying'

QUITO - Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa announced Saturday he is seeking to definitively shut down a private television station that he accused of "espionage" on his office.
The station Teleamazonas, a private broadcaster that has been critical of Correa and his government, has already been fined multiple times for breaking broadcasting law, notably for reporting opposition charges of voter fraud during April's general elections.

This week the station broadcast a secretly recorded conversation between Correa and a Quito lawmaker -- seemingly the last straw for Correa, who has sought the station's closure for months.
"I ask that Teleamazonas... is finally closed," Correa said on his own weekly television and radio show Saturday.
"They have spied on a meeting in the office of the president -- that's an attack on national security.... We will not accept these things," said Correa.
Also Saturday, Correa ordered that the pan-American Telemundo talk show helmed by wildly popular Peruvian host Laura Bozzo be taken off Ecuadorian airwaves, describing the show as "junk" and "corruptive." Within minutes of the order the show's broadcast in Ecuador was terminated.
Earlier this month the leftist leader, a strong ally of regional firebrand leaders Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, proposed further restrictions of press freedoms by calling for controls of media "excesses."
During an inauguration ceremony of his second term in office, Correa accused his opponents of being motivated by profits and described the media as his "greatest enemy" during his first term as president.
Correa took office in 2007 for a four-year term to end in 2011, but after winning a constitutional reform earlier this year he gained re-election until 2013.
Correa and other leaders at the newly formed regional body, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), called in May for the creation of a specific body to defend governments against "press abuses."

Sunday, August 30th 2009

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