5 May 2011


Journalists face second legal action in connection with investigative book

Incident details


Juan Carlos Calderón, Journalist
Christian Zurita, Journalist

This is available in:

English Español
(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 28 April 2011 - Investigative journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, authors of the book "El Gran Hermano", which reveals information about contracts between Fabricio Correa, the president's brother, and the State, are facing a new civil lawsuit for "moral damages" filed in a personal capacity by the Minister of Transport and Public Works, María de los Ángeles Duarte.

According to the Judiciary's web page, the complaint was presented on 25 March 2011 before the Provincial Court of Pichincha and will be heard by the 21st Civil Court under case number: 2011-0535. The web page also states that the lawsuit is going ahead. However, the parties involved have not been summoned yet.

The minister raised concerns about the caption published with a photograph in which she appears, which states that Fabricio Correa was awarded a contract worth millions during her term at the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing; a fact that Duarte has denied because, according to statements made to government owned media, at that time she was no longer in charge of the ministry, but campaigning for the mayoralty of Guayaquil, and the contract was signed months after she left her ministry post.

On 1 September 2010, the authors of "El Gran Hermano" and their publishers received the first letter from Duarte in which she questioned the photograph's caption. Twenty days later, the minister threatened Calderón with legal action if sold copies of the book were not retrieved and he did not prevent "their distribution, considering that they contain allegations that are not true."

The book's authors asserted, at the time, that everything that was included in the book is true and that their investigative reports are backed by evidence.

Calderón told Fundamedios that the minister has acted on her threat by filing this lawsuit. As to the motives for the legal action, the journalist said that the minister's concerns were addressed at the appropriate time and that the book's second edition even includes Duarte's version of events. As a result, Calderón believes that they have complied with any action required in response to the official's letter.

This is the second lawsuit for "moral damages" faced by the journalists and authors of the book. The first cased was filed by President Rafael Correa for a total amount of US$10 million.


Putting free expression issues in perspective.

Sign up to receive IFEX In Context.

More from Ecuador
  • The U-turn: Moreno steers Ecuador away from Correa's media repression

    Journalists say they will be wary until Moreno fulfills his promises to scale back the Communications Law and scrap the regulator that enforced it.

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Ecuador

    Politically motivated takedown requests for alleged copyright violations targeted online news outlets and the websites of human rights organizations

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Ecuador

    Since its establishment under the 2013 Communications Law, Ecuador’s media regulator, known as SUPERCOM, has issued sanctions in more than 300 cases against media outlets.

At this point, would publish cover: "Home page"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "Magazine's equipment seized during police operation"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "President files US$10 million lawsuit against two investigative journalists"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "Ecuadorian embassy official prevents distribution of book at Buenos Aires book festival"
At this point, would publish story-with-same-anchor: "Journalists subjected to insults and harassment after publishing investigative book "
IFEX is a global network of committed organisations working to defend and promote free expression.
Permission is granted for material on this website to be reproduced or republished in whole or in part provided the source member and/or IFEX is cited with a link to the original item.