MIAMI, Florida (May 18, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today protested an attack in recent weeks by the government of Ecuador on online media and journalists, using the Organic Communication Law as "heavy artillery" to censor and silence the press.
The organization Fundamedios sent to the IAPA a denouncement by editors and publishers of online media, including 4Pelegatos and Focus Ecuador, among others, in which they complain of being victims of systematic attacks as part of the policy of the Rafael Correa government to control the press.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, deplored what he called "this new attack on freedom of the press and of expression."
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, called attention to the fact that "not only having censored the traditional media Correa is continuing to use the Communication Law and his control agencies as 'heavy artillery' against online media, many of which came into being to avoid official censorship."
The online media have been subjected to repeated cyber attacks, in some cases they have been denied service and in others they have been censored through the National Communication Secretariat (Secom) or through privately-owned companies and groups close to the government, for the alleged offense of violating copyright. In many cases the media have been accused of using parts of the President's Saturday addresses titled Enlace Ciudadano (Citizen Linkup), and public documents and photos taken from Correa's presidential digital files or those of his government officials.
Among the media outlets that protested the systematic attacks on their right to freedom of the press and of expression are 4Pelagatos, Focus Ecuador, PlanV, Mil Hojas, Ecuadorenvivo, LaRepública.EC and Cotopaxi Noticias.
Since the entry into effect of the Communication Law in 2013 the Internet has become the only space outside governmental control in Ecuador.
"The Correa government's lack of tolerance of criticism has no restraint and so as we have been alerting in the IAPA's twice yearly reports on the state of press freedom in Ecuador to the fact that attention should be paid to the constant updating of the mechanisms used to censor the media in general," Paolillo declared.
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.