MIAMI, Florida (May 21, 2018)—An international delegation of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) will this week meet with the President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, to take up issues on the amendment of the Organic Communication Law that the country's Executive Branch sent to Congress today, on security and protection of journalists and on public policies regarding news media.
The visit, headed by IAPA President Gustavo Mohme, responds to a resolution passed by the IAPA's General Assembly last October in Utah then confirmed at its Midyear Meeting in Medellín, Colombia last month, following the murder of three employees of the Quito newspaper El Comercio. Then there was approved the sending of "an urgent mission of IAPA authorities to Ecuador to analyze in situ the seriousness of the situation of the security of journalists and freedom of the press in that country and seek the commitment of all the branches of the government with the full exercise of freedom of expression and the right to information."
The Quito meeting will be held on Wednesday (May 23) at the Carondelet Palace. In addition to Mohme, editor of the Peruvian newspaper La República, the delegation is made up of Roberto Rock, chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the Mexico City, Mexico, portal La Silla Rota; María Elvira Domínguez, first vice president and editor of the Cali, Colombia, newspaper El País; Edward Seaton, former IAPA president and director of Seaton Newspapers, Manhattan, Kansas, and Ricardo Trotti, the organization's executive director. The delegation will also include local members of the IAPA and representatives of the Ecuadorean Association of Newspaper Editors and Publishers (AEDEP), among them its president, Pedro Zambrano of El Diario of Portoviejo, Manabí state.
The IAPA delegation will be carrying out a full agenda of activities, among which will be a meeting with members of the families of Javier Ortega, Paúl Rivas and Efraín Segarra, employees of the newspaper El Comercio who were kidnapped on March 26 by a dissident group of the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia and whose murder was confirmed on April 13.
That same day the IAPA sent from Medellín a strong message to the members of governments meeting at the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru. For their part the editors and publishers of media of Colombia and Ecuador signed in the presence of the IAPA representatives a proclamation of collaboration for continuation of journalistic coverage of the state of public order on the two countries' border.
The delegation is also due to meet with legislator and representatives of news entities and of civil society with the objective of coming up with strategies to ensure the safety of journalists while carrying out their work.
Between 2007 and 2017 the IAPA sought meetings on several occasions with then President Rafael Correa, but always got a negative response, except in October 2009 when it was received at the Carondelet Palace by the then Communication Secretary General Fernando Alvarado and other officials.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.