PARIS – Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday expressed its concern about protecting the sources of the Ecuadorian magazine Vanguardia after authorities seized 30 computers from its offices to cover the payment of a $14,560 debt.
RSF, as the Paris-based watchdog group is known, lamented the “excessive and fruitless use of force” in the operation that was carried out Dec. 17 in Quito and in which about 50 police officers confiscated the computers.
Noting that the seizure of the computers threatens the confidentiality of the magazine’s sources, RSF supported Vanguardia in its demand for “guarantees that its hard-drives will not be consulted.”
The government is asking the publication to pay the debt it owes consisting of 13 months of back rent on its offices but the seizure of the computers “leaves the bureau unable to continue publishing the magazine.”
RSF echoed the statements of the magazine’s manager, Luis Zumarraga, who said that “the seizure really seems to be related to the investigations carried out by Vanguardia on alleged acts of corruption that implicate government officials.” EFE