The IPI global network condemns the recent series of letter-bomb attacks targeting journalists in Ecuador. Authorities in the country must hold those responsible to account and take active steps to protect journalists from violence or any other form of attack on press freedom.
The envelopes were sent from Quinsaloma, Los Ríos province, according to reports. The first letter containing an explosive device reached Ecuavisa TV. There, journalist Lenin Artieda plugged the device, a pen drive, into his computer. It exploded and he suffered minor injuries. No one else was affected by the explosion.
The second envelope with an explosive was sent to TC Televisión and addressed to journalist Mauricio Ayora. The envelope was not opened.
On March 16, the third envelope reached the Teleamazonas newsroom in Quito, addressed to executive producer Milton Pérez. In 2020, a similar attack occurred when an explosive device exploded outside the newsroom, damaging parts of the building.
The fourth envelope was addressed to journalist Miguel Rivadeneira at EXA FM station. It did not reach the destination as it was intercepted at a delivery service in Quito on March 20. The same happened with the fifth envelope addressed to Carlos Vera, which was intercepted by the delivery service in Guayaquil.
Ecuador’s public prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation following these incidents. However, the motivation behind the letter bombs or who sent them is still unknown.
“IPI strongly condemns these letter bomb attacks on newsrooms in Ecuador as an attack on press freedom that authorities in the country must take seriously”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “Authorities must investigate the case, identify those responsible, and hold them to account. Swift action in cases of attacks on journalists is necessary to prevent impunity and deter future acts of violence or attempted violence against the press.”