Ecuador's new media regulator, considered a censorship tool by the opposition, has opened proceedings against a press cartoonist whose drawing was considered offensive by President Rafael Correa.
Xavier Bonilla, who works for El Universo, one of Ecuador's main newspapers, which is known for its critical tone against the president, told AFP he had received notification of a summons yesterday evening.
"I don't know what they're accusing me of exactly, but they sent me a notification that mentions a report allowing a case against me," said Bonilla, who goes by "Bonil."
At the beginning of the year, Correa, a socialist leader known for his open conflict with the media and business sectors, announced his intention to file a complaint with the regulator against Bonilla.
The drawing in question concerned a police search at the home of an advisor to opposition deputy Clever Jimenez, who Correa accuses of spying and who says he has evidence of government corruption.
The cartoon caption says police confiscated "allegations of corruption," a phrase the Ecuadorian president has challenged.
El Universo has been prosecuted for insulting Correa in the past, and Bonilla said he could be forced to publish a retraction, apology and even pay a fine.
In a separate incident, Jimenez was sentenced to 18 months in prison for insulting the president.
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