Human rights group criticises Ecuador's record on freedom of speech

Human rights organisations have criticised Ecuador's record on freedom of speech and the methods used by President Rafael Correa to pursue his critics.

The South American country claims that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's human rights are at risk, leading to him being granted political asylum.

Last year, the head of the opinion section of El Universo - one of the country) in damages over an article which described the president as a dictator and accused him of ordering forces to open fire on a hospital.

Padraig Reidy, of campaign group Index on Censorship, said:

"It demonstrates to us that for all its rhetoric, Ecuador is a country that is more than willing to use the law to pursue opposition voices.

"It doesn't have a great deal of respect for free press."