Peter Hartcher writes several paragraphs with which I could not disagree:
Why? Because Ecuador, under its President of the last five years, Rafael Correa, has become one of the world’s leading oppressors of free speech. Correa has appropriated, closed and intimidated many media outlets critical of his government. He has sued journalists for crippling damages.
In the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders, Ecuador has dropped from having the 56th freest press in the world to the 104th, lower than Kuwait and the Republic of the Congo.
So while Correa welcomed Assange to what he called ‘’the club of the persecuted’’, he has been persecuting his own country’s reporters.
In one case, Correa ran a punitive libel suit that sentenced a journalist and three executives from the El Universo newspaper to three years in jail and fined them $42 million. The fine was greater than the newspaper’s worth.
The President who last week offered political asylum in Ecuador to Assange is the same one who drove the El Universo four to seek political asylum outside Ecuador. ..
The government owns 19 media outlets, according to The New York Times.
Even as Assange has been sheltering in the London embassy of Ecuador these last two months, the government of Ecuador has shut down six radio stations and two TV stations.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.