Ecuador: Panama Papers also reveal right-wing media bias

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Gee, what were the odds? It’s not just Venezuela where the “investigative journalists” are only investigating persons with ties to a progressive, socialist government. The same is also happening in Ecuador, and the bias hasn’t escaped the bright green eyes of none other than the president himself:

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa said on Tuesday that he did not consider that all the names of those from Ecuador involved in the ICIJ’s 11-million-document Panama Papers investigation had come to light.

“We are now going to search through those 10.5 million documents and see all the marvels which will come out,” said Correa during the inauguration of the electric substation project at El Inga, in Pichincha. So far, only three names, of persons tied to the Ecuadorian government, have appeared [in the media]: attorney general Galo Chiriboga; former president of the Central Bank, Pedro Delgado; and attorney Javier Molina, who worked for the National Secretariat of Intelligence (SENAIN).

“But I assure you that in all that data, there are persons involved in Ecuador, which shows us that they haven’t brought them out. They have nothing with which to accuse the government, because we are an honest government,” Correa emphasized, assuring that his government would conduct an investigation of all the data published by the Consortium, in which Ecuadorian journalists from private media are taking part.

“They’ve been searching for a year and haven’t found anything against the government, and they’ve had to invent things and twist the numbers,” said the president.

The Ecuadorian journalists participating in the Panama Papers investigation are: Arturo Torres (El Comercio), Mónica Almeida (El Universo), Xavier Reyes (El Universo), Paúl Mena (El Universo), Andrés Jaramillo (El Comercio) and Alberto Araujo (El Comercio), according to the consortium’s website.

“That’s the much-ballyhooed ‘confidence’, the change of expectations, mortgaging the country so they do us the charity of returning the money to those they looted, which was generated here by the sweat of our workers. With this president, they’ll never get away with that, but Ecuador knows the names of the people who have their capital, their ghost businesses, their trusts in fiscal paradises,” Correa added.

[…]

Earlier, the director of the Ecuadorian Internal Revenue Service (SRI), Leonardo Orlando, assured that his agency will investigate the Ecuadorians whose names are mentioned in the investigation. “For the SRI, the fight against tax havens is nothing new, but a daily struggle in all the processes of control we are confronting.”

Translation mine.

So, there you have it. It’s not just Venezuela where the only names mentioned in the media, so far, are tied to government. And it’s not just Venezuela where the government and its supporters have become immediately suspicious as a result. Ecuador has the exact same problem. Private media are a scourge in both countries; their corporate owners are immensely rich. What are the odds that the same media owners who employ those “investigative journalists”, whom ICIJ has naïvely entrusted with the Panama Papers data, are actually culprits who SHOULD be getting investigated…but are not?

The bright spot in all this is that the public media in Venezuela and Ecuador are not sitting idly by and letting all this pass. They’re actively questioning the private media (and their owners) about all the strangely one-sided coverage they’re providing under the guise of “investigative journalism”. And when they get their hands on the full 11-million-document haul, watch out. There will be a lot more rich (and not so famous) heads rolling. And more right-wing businessmen-turned-politicians will finally be coming under the microscope, too, like Mauricio Macri in Argentina — because those same are all in favor of tax shelters and fiscal paradises. And why would they not be? They have benefited hugely from them, while we little people are suffering the world over.

This is why we, too, have to question the corporate media here in the English-speaking world, along with their conservative political ties. And why we need alternative and public media now, more than ever.

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