Ecuador’s public prosecutor has opened a terrorism investigation after at least five journalists received envelopes containing explosive devices.
Three of the envelopes reached the newsrooms of Ecuavisa, Teleamazonas and TC Televisión television channels, while two further envelopes addressed to radio station EXA FM and journalist Carlos Vera were intercepted, the country’s Interior Minister Juan Zapata said Monday.
“This is an absolutely clear message of silencing journalists who have been strong in their way of being or silencing the media,” said Zapata, who condemned the acts and confirmed that an in depth investigation is underway.
In a statement Monday, Ecuador’s Public Prosecutor’s Office said it had opened a terrorism investigation following the various attacks.
Evidence has been collected from the media outlets that received envelopes containing the devices, and all of the devices will be included in a single investigation because of the similarities between them, it said in the statement.
An exploding memory stick and other deliveries
On Monday, Ecuavisa TV journalist Lenin Artieda suffered minor injuries when he plugged a memory stick containing an explosive device into his computer, the outlet reported in a note published on its website.
The explosion did not injure anyone else, nor did it cause any material damage to the newsroom, which is located in the city of Guayaquil, southern Ecuador.
The prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into the attack, and confirmed that Artieda had suffered minor injuries.
Also on Monday, TC Televisión received an envelope containing an explosive, addressed to journalist Mauricio Ayora, according to Ecuador’s Interior Minister Zapata. The station said the envelope had not been opened.
A third envelope containing explosives arrived at the Teleamazonas newsroom in the capital city Quito last Thursday, addressed to presenter and executive producer Milton Pérez, but it was not delivered until Monday, Pérez confirmed to CNN.
A fourth envelope, addressed to journalist Miguel Rivadeneira of radio station EXA FM, did not reach its destination because it was intercepted at a parcel delivery service in Quito on Monday, according to EXA FM.
Álvaro Rosero, director of the media outlet, tweeted that the envelope had originally been sent last Wednesday.
And finally, the envelope addressed to Carlos Vera was intercepted by the same parcel delivery company in Guayaquil, according to minister Zapata.
After learning of the attack on Ecuavisa, the Ecuadorian government said in a statement that it “categorically rejects all types of violent acts perpetrated against journalists or the media.”
Mario Cuvi, deputy minister of governance, expressed solidarity with the journalists.
“All our support for the media in the face of these threats against freedom of expression,” he tweeted.