Journalists ordered to pay $2 million for moral damages to Ecuador's president
Two Ecuadoran journalists have been ordered to pay President Rafael Correa $2 million in moral damages for writing the book "El Gran Hermano" (Big Brother), according to the Associated Press. Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita wrote the book about the supposed contracts that Fabricio Correa, brother to the president, has with the state.
Judge Mercedes Portilla decided that the Ecuadoran president suffered a "great humiliation, grave social and moral affliction, and was vilified in front of Ecuadorans and readers at large," reported the newspaper La Hora.
The judge also decided that a psychological evaluation of the president was not necessary to prove the book's emotional impact on him since it is "impossible or very difficult to prove," according to the newspaper El Comercio.
Along with the $2 million fine, the journalists were ordered to pay $100,000 for the president's legal fees, reported AFP.
Calderón said that they planned to appeal the decision to the Provincial Court, saying that the sentence "is a form of punishment for reporting" and that the fine is "absurd and irrational," according to Reuters. Even the president's brother, Fabricio Correa, said that the sentence was "abusive," reported Hoy.
The Ecuadoran NGO Fundamedios condemned the sentence against the journalists, saying that it is a serious attack on freedom of expression and the press, and hastens the "deterioration of democratic freedoms and fundamental rights in Ecuador."
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