Ecuador court fines journalists $1 million each - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ecuador court fines journalists $1 million each

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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -- An Ecuadorean court has ordered two journalists to pay $1 million each to President Rafael Correa after finding them guilty of defamation for reporting on contracts the president's brother allegedly had with the state.

Quito Judge Mercedes Portilla levied the fines against Juan Carlos Calderon and Cristian Zurita in a case Correa brought over their 2010 book "The Big Brother." It says he suffered "moral damage" for the way they described $600 million in contracts with companies linked to the president's older brother Fabricio.

President Correa ended all such contracts in 2009 after the journalists first reported them.

Press freedom advocates have accused the president of trying to silence critics.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-02-07-12 1303CST

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