Government fines newspaper for ‘offensive’ cartoon

Jan 31, 2014

Ecuador’s media oversight agency fined the newspaper El Universo for a cartoon it published about prosecutors’ Dec. 27 search of the home of a journalist who has since left the country, authorities said Friday.

The agency also said Xavier Bonilla has 72 hours to “correct” his cartoon, which portrays soldiers slamming a door down onto Fernando Villavicencio and hauling computers and boxes of files from his home. Villavicencio investigates oil industry corruption and President Rafael Correa’s administration said he illegally obtained emails from Correa’s account.

The oversight agency said the cartoon “did not correspond to reality.” It fined El Universo two percent of its revenues from the last three months. The oversight agency is dominated by Correa loyalists.

Bonilla, who is known simply as Bonil, said “I had to take the resolution with a bit of water to not choke on it.”

Officials of the newspaper could not immediately be reached for comment.

Correa has maintained tense relations with Ecuador’s news media since he was elected, accusing it of being part of the political opposition.