December 10, 2012

Ecuador is a climate of polarization evident between the media and the power that has been the President

It is not difficult, then, to confuse freedom of expression
with freedom of enterprise"

The tension between the media and the Ecuadorian government fell after the elections of 30 September, where President Correa was widely supported to amend the constitution. However, Ecuador is a climate of polarization evident between the media and the power that has been the president will announce that no more press conferences while maintaining the open confrontation. The position of the country to Reporters Without Borders continues improvement process begun a year earlier, although it is far from his best records. This makes the development of journalism is partly free.

All institutions that monitor freedom of expression in Latin America agree that there is a strong bias in Ecuador, in which they disagree is who feeds the confrontation.

For Reporters Without Borders (RSF), earlier this year there were some events that showed the fragile relationship of power with the press. In April, Nelson Fueltala journalist, correspondent for the newspaper La Gaceta and Radio Latacunga, was sentenced by the Superior Court of Justice for "insulting" to sixty days in jail. The organization warns that this can lead to self-censorship. The complaint was filed by the municipal commissioner Pujilí because he published some of his statements about the mayor.

In the same vein, the following month, RSF wrote to the country's president asking him to withdraw his complaint for contempt against the editor of the newspaper La Hora. Under Article 230 of the penal code, He faces a sentence ranging from six months to two years in prison and a heavy fine. In the article, Francisco Vivanco recalled the recent clashes between supporters and opponents of his government and accused him of "governing in a tumultuous, with sticks and stones."

Situations like this prompted, March 28, several journalists and police will manifest in favor of freedom of expression in front of the city hall of Latacunga, and then protest in front of the buildings were of the Superior Court of Justice. Therefore, the Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights has noted in Ecuador setbacks at various points related to the right to freedom of thought and expression. In this regard, have drawn attention mainly warnings regarding use of criminal law to the detriment of freedom of expression as well as the willingness to impose sanctions through the reform of a law with a presidential decree.

RSF says it is undeniable that some media are too aggressive with Correa but asked not chose to stop giving press conferences: "Yes, the Ecuadorian society is very polarized. Yes, the political project of President Rafael Correa constitutional causes virulent reactions in some media. But the situation will worsen if the head of state decides to dodge the press, after multiplying the attacks against her. Taking such a high political office means exposure to public criticism and accountability to the public. We believe there is still the possibility of a dialogue and asked the President to reconsider his decision not to hold more press conferences. The empty chair policy is the worst solution. " And, for Correa, although he admitted that it made mistakes in dealing with the press, said: "In American history, the press has always been against progressive governments."

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA), meanwhile, is understood to Correa who motivates this tense situation with "an attitude of belligerence against the press." IAPA says, with this attitude, we have to add adjectives against the press as "incompetent", "slander", "liar", "corrupt" and "mediocre", among others.

The Society of Editors echoes that on May 19, President Correa was expelled from his radio show Saturday at Emilio Palacio, opinion editor of El Universo, after a blame game: denied the words of the president on the Ecuadorian press that he had not reported the banking crisis of 1999, and he replied that he had done in his academic stage (as Rafael Correa is professor of economics).

The tension between the press and the government transferred the political scene and this is evident in the citizenry.
On May 26, during a public speech by the then Finance Minister Ricardo Patiño CIESPAL headquarters in Quito, government supporters greeted reporters with phrases like "sold down the press." Some participants repeatedly verbally attacked journalists. Patino asked to stop offenses.

On June 2, President Correa conditioned the signing of the Declaration of Chapultepec means to commit to: respect the labor rights of journalists, broadcast quality news, democratize media spaces and elevate the status of crime against public inaccuracies, misleading information or partial and lies. Alfredo Palacio, former president of Ecuador, signed the Declaration on the act of March 2006 SIP.   But the current president says he will not sanction the agreement to ensure that cash and then press meets, first, with respect to their workers and, on the other, with a commitment to truthfulness. These statements have caused, in equal measure, and critical approval, some quarters that it is a way to restrict and censor the press action, and others that it ensures the democratization of public space for debate and the accuracy of the information. The newspaper El Universo, the largest circulation in the country, is particularly opposed to the measures the president on communication.

However, after the September 30 elections to choose the members of the Constituent Assembly, which largely succeeded official candidates, it appears that the government's relationship with the media has softened. For some, the President has changed his address, for others, the press has taken social support Correa.

The portal collects the postulates of near Correa. In its pages, Rodrigo Santillan, former president of the National Union of Journalists and president of the Court of Honor, recognizing that from the moment that Correa "started talking about the need for changes in the structures of the nation, came the attacks and insults from the major media. "

In Ecuador there is no radio or public television, and this is something that the president intends to solve.

Meanwhile, every Saturday President moves to a city, and from there makes an "accountability" to the population.

On each occasion invites two or three journalists and they make a panel.

Another reason for this animosity between both political players, according to former minister Acosta, is that for the first time a government "has an incestuous relationship with the press. Although we are not the only country in the world where it happens, here is normal for media owners end up of members of the Defence Board, by way of recognition. "

The alternative site says: "In this country, seven television stations, six are under orders from banking groups, clans or financial dependent. It is not difficult, then, to confuse freedom of expression with freedom of enterprise".


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