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Journalists under fire over ‘Panama Papers’

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 4:00 AM
An activist displays a French newspaper with a headline on the ‘Panama Papers’ revelations during a banking managers meeting in Paris, France, last Thursday.

MIAMI, Florida:

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has condemned and called for an end to harassment of Ecuadorean journalists who collaborated in the Panama Papers international investigation after President Rafael Correa made public their photos, names, and social media accounts.

"We hold President Correa responsible for the physical integrity of journalists and for his constant policy of intimidation," declared Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.

Correa, on April 12, published on Twitter, the names and social media accounts of five of the six Ecuadorean journalists who took part in the Panama Papers investigation and urged his followers to send them messages.

Some of the journalists have complained that in their accounts, they have received insults and even the publication of photos with members of their families, including minors, with the intent of intimidating them.

GREAT RISK

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Busqueda, added: "This is a very dangerous situation and it puts at great risk journalists whom, in an underhand fashion, are held to be 'guilty' of a situation of which they are only the messengers.

"The journalists are not mentioned in the leaked documents. They were carrying out their work to report," as part of the team of more than 370 journalists of 100 news media outlets of 76 countries that reviewed and evaluated the Panama Papers documents.

The Panama Papers are more than 11.5 million internal documents of almost 40 years of work by the Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, a specialist in the registration of offshore companies.

The leaked documents contain the names of the firm's international clients who benefited from the companies created in the tax havens, among them government officials, politicians, businessmen, drug traffickers, celebrities and sportsmen.