An Ecuadorian photographer was shot dead on Sunday on his way home. The journalist’s newspaper and local NGOs believe he was killed due to a connection with a police corruption story he was working on.
Byron Baldeón, a freelance photographer who worked for the daily newspaper Extra, was shot numerous times by two gunmen on a motorcycle. Autopsy reports show that there were 17 bullet wounds.
"Byron Baldeón's coverage of alleged police corruption highlights the vital importance of local journalism and the potentially grave risks that come with it," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's New York-based senior program coordinator for the Americas. "We send our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues, and we call on Ecuadoran authorities to fully investigate this crime and bring those responsible to justice."
Baldeón had covered a story of 400 TV sets theft which led to the arrest of three police officers and as a result made him a target for harassment.
Reporter’s Without Borders also condemned the killing in their statement, “We hope that a thorough investigation will quickly lead to the arrest of Baldeón’s murderers. It is rare for journalists to be the victim of this kind of tragedy in Ecuador. Investigators should give priority to the possibility Baldeón was murdered because of his knowledge of certain criminal activity.”