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Ecuador8 February 2005

Bomb rocks provincial radio station

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a bomb attack on Radio Canela in Macas (240 km southeast of Quito) in the early hours of 4 February as "a serious press freedom violation" and urged the authorities to investigate it properly in order to catch those responsible quickly.

"It is vital to put an end to this kind of intimidation as rapidly as possible so that journalists can work with complete safety," the press freedom organization said.

The bomb, which went off outside the radio station at 2:30 a.m., caused no injuries but did an estimated 20,000 dollars in damages. No one claimed responsibility but Radio Canela owner Wilson Cabrera said he suspected the government, which he has accused of corruption on several occasions.

President Lucio Gutiérrez condemned the attack and denied the government was in any way involved. He accused "anarchist groups" of wanting to "spread chaos in the country."

Journalist Carlos Vera of the Canal 8 television station meanwhile claimed that soldiers threatened him with imprisonment for calling the president a "dictator" and a "populist" on the air. Speaking on a state radio station, President Gutiérrez denied that the government wanted to arrest anyone.



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