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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Ecuadorian magazine fined $80,000 for referendum editorial



Ecuador's Electoral Court (TCE in Spanish) sentenced a magazine to pay $80,000 for publishing an editorial on Sept. 26, reported the newspaper El Universo.

The TCE levied the fine in response to an editorial published by the magazine Vistazo on May 6, 2011, one day before a popular referendum, that the court declared "electoral propaganda," according to Fundamedios. The editorial "A resounding NO" addressed the questions that would appear on the referendum ballot, added the group's website.

Ex-TCE President Ximena Endara ruled no crime was committed and acquitted the magazine of the charge on Dec. 12, 2011, according to the newspaper El Comercio. In her decision, the judge argued the editorial did not constitute political propaganda but an opinion and therefore could not be banned, the newspaper added.

The government-affiliated social organizations that brought the suit against Vistazo appealed the decision, however, reported the newspaper La Hora. Vistazo responded that the editorial expressed the opinion of the publication but was not propaganda, according to La Hora.



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