Condemns any attempt to destabilize the country’s democratic system
Miami (September 30, 2010)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) came out strongly against any move in Ecuador that would destabilize institutions and democratic order, at the same time warning that a requirement for private radio and television stations to simulcast the state-run network violates press freedom.
IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre said he was confident that “the convulsion in Ecuador will be overcome and there will be an immediate return to full institutional order, which also means respect for the press to work freely and that Ecuadorians’ right to information is guaranteed.”
Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Dario Las Americas, regretted President Rafael Caldera’s declaration of a state of emergency, which he said “signifies a restriction on the broadcast media’s ability to operate freely as it should under situations of maximum alert when people deserve to have access to fully independent and pluralistic coverage of events.”
Members of the National Police this morning occupied an army barracks and the airport and surrounded the National Assembly building in protest over a law passed the previous day withdrawing professional incentives such as bonuses and awards.
Following the disturbances the government declared a five-day state of emergency; shortly afterwards the Presidential Press Office issued an order stating that “In accordance with in Articles 59-b of the Law on Radio and Television Broadcast and 63, 65, 66 and 70 of its Regulation, and at the request of the Ecuadorean Presidency, radio and television stations will broadcast simulcast nationwide.” The document made it clear that the order is mandatory, “indefinite and uninterrupted until second order” and that disobedience is punishable under the full weight of the law.
Aguirre said that reporters were injured while covering the conflict and added that the IAPA would remain alert and vigilant to development of events in Ecuador.
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 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org