Ecuadorean media face some of the worst restrictions in Latin America, CPJ reports
On Sept. 1, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Andean Group of Information Freedoms, and Fundamedios released a report on the state of freedom of expression in Ecuador titled, "Confrontation, Repression in Correa's Ecuador." The report accuses President Rafael Correa of turning Ecuador into one of the most restrictive countries in the hemisphere for the press in less than five years.
The report observed that the president's actions threaten the Andean country's media. Some of the criticisms included:
• Forcing radio and television broadcasters to transmit official messages criticizing the media or official messages that are obligatory to transmit in emergencies but are instead used for political confrontations.
• The use of defamation laws to curb media criticism and jail or fine journalists. "In a region where imprisonment of journalists has been rare outside of Cuba, the recent criminal prosecutions have been striking," the reports reads.
• Fundamedios documented more than 380 violations of freedom of expression in Ecuador between January 2008 and July 2011.
• A proposed communications bill could create a media regulatory council that could be used as an instrument of censorship and intimidate media owners or shareholders in those companies with financial attacks.
• The Ecuadorean government owns one of the largest media empires in Latin America, including 15 radio and television broadcasters as well as print media.
The report also includes recommendations for the Ecuadorean government to guarantee freedom of expression.
For more on this story, see this video from the Committee to Protect Journalists' report (in Spanish).
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