The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) published a report today (23 January) that illustrates how the government of Ecuador is carrying out “a sophisticated strategy of marginalising all voices independent of state power”.
The report, built on WAN-IFRA’s research and on the findings from a WAN-IFRA mission to Quito and Guayaquil from 26 October to 2 November 2011, reveals that the Ecuadorean government is “establishing a strict control over all arenas of public debate, while couching this in a debate centred around media plurality.”
The report reveals contradictions between the official discourse, which calls from greater media plurality, and the authoritarian practices of the President of the Republic, Rafael Correa, and his government.
“The government appears to have decided to follow a path that distances it from democracy”, said Christoph Riess. “Not only is it the wrong path, but it is a dangerous path as well”.
The report comes out only a day before the National Court of Justice hears an appeal from El Universo. The newspaper’s former opinion editor, Emilio Palacio, the newspaper and its executives Carlos, César and Nicolás Pérez Lapentti, were sentenced in July 2011 to three years in prison on defamation charges and ordered to pay 40 million dollars to the President. The sentence was upheld by an appeal court in September. The case has caused international indignation at the President’s pursuit of a criminal case to intimidate voices critical to his administration.
“With upcoming elections in one year’s time, to which Rafael Correa will most probably be a candidate, we must be ready for more violations to freedom of expression”, said Mr Riess. “The international community will closely follow events”.
Download the full report by clicking on the link below or clicking here.
WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world's newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries. Its core mission is to defend and promote press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity and the development of prosperous businesses.
Larry Kilman, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodrigo Bonilla, Press Freedom Missions Manager, WAN-IFRA, 96 bis rue Beaubourg, 75003 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 37. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 25 87 29 13. E-mail: email@example.com.