Ecuador: IAPA protests actions against journalists, media


MIAMI, Florida (August 11, 2016)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned administrative and legal actions taken against Ecuadorean journalists and media favoring the South American country's president, Rafael Correa, and his government in a new wave of official reprisals aimed at censuring critics.

Journalist Janeth Hinostroza and television chain Teleamazonas were fined on August 8 by the Superintendence of Information and Communication (Supercom) for "media lynching," an offense under the Organic Communication Law.

Teleamazonas is now required to publicly apologize on all its channels and the same number of times that it has broadcast the information subject of the Supercom action. Hinostroza, who runs the program "Desayunos de 24 horas" (24-hour Breakfasts), was reprimanded for "non-compliance" with the rules concerning professional practice included in the Law. Teleamazonas announced that it will go to court to have the action annulled.

The written reprimand occurred several days after President Correa during his Saturday broadcast harshly criticized the journalist and television chain for having questioned the process of bidding for medicines by the National Public Contracting Service (SERCOP).

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, expressed concern "at the backhander system of state institutions that is put underway to defend President Correa every time that he launches an attack on his critics."

"This is an outrageous privilege in the best monarchic style," added Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, "which demonstrates not only intolerance of criticism but the dependence of state bodies and the Judicial Branch on the interests of the President himself."

Regarding the Judicial Branch Paolillo spoke of a new punishment that favors President Correa. This week it was learned of a new legal order that prohibits journalist Fernando Villavicencio from leaving the country, also imposing on him the embargo of his assets and bank accounts for having failed to comply with payment of more than $140,000 in favor of President Correa. The indemnity was imposed in 2013 after he was convicted on a charge of libeling Correa. He has protection measures of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

In another incident affecting freedom of expression a monitoring by the independent press freedom organization Fundamedios recorded 806 complaints against 292 Twitter accounts that were blocked, suspended or whose messages were deleted for alleged violation of the social media's rules. According to Fundamedios many of these accounts were critical of the Correa government.

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