Two reporters and driver kidnapped in northern Ecuador
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Ecuadorean authorities to do everything possible to locate and free two newspaper journalists and their driver who were kidnapped yesterday while on a reporting visit to an area near the Colombian border that has seen frequent clashes between drug traffickers and the authorities since January.
The journalists, whose names are being withheld for safety reasons, work for El Comercio, one of Colombia’s leading daily newspapers. They and their driver were abducted in Mataje, a locality in the northern province of Esmeraldas that is just a few kilometres from the border.
“The Ecuadorean authorities must act as quickly as possible to locate and facilitate the release of these three men,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “They must also guarantee the safety of journalists operating in this border area, where the media’s ability to work and their security is now deplorable and is getting worse. The families of the two kidnapped reporters and their driver have our full support.”
The government announced yesterday evening that it had deployed the established security and investigative protocols in response to the abduction. El Comercio reported that the defence and interior ministers and the prosecutor-general met with the families of the journalists and representatives of the newspaper to discuss an appropriate plan of action.
Ecuador is ranked 105th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.