78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain


During this period, the work of the media was hindered by state security forces and public officials who attacked journalists during public demonstrations.

During the indigenous strike between June 13 and 30, in which 335 people were injured, 155 arrested and 77 human rights violations were reported, 242 journalists were victims of violence. In addition to verbal intimidation, many journalists had stones thrown at them, tear gas bombs and even were attacked with whips.

On June 17, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in three provinces of the country, Pichincha, Imbabura and Cotopaxi, which resulted in restrictions on press freedom. The decree specified that "this limitation will consist of the establishment of restrictions and/or suspensions; or the establishment of quality restrictions, of fixed, mobile and internet telecommunications services." It also established restrictions on the publication of information that the government considered reserved or of restricted circulation – for the purposes of media and social networks. Shortly thereafter, the government rescinded them.

Aggressions against journalists were also registered due to the growing insecurity and the action of organized crime. Many journalists and media outlets suffered attacks, threats and murder. In certain areas of the country, especially in Guayaquil, the press has not been able to carry out its work normally due to the lack of security guarantees.

This violence resulted in the murder of two journalists in this period. Mike Cabrera, murdered on July 24, and Gerardo Delgado on August 10.

Cabrera, 33, ran his page Nexo Digital on social networks, where he published topics of local interest. He was talking with other people on an avenue in the city of Portoviejo, in Manabí, when two killers on a motorcycle shot them six times. The authorities do not know the motive of the crime.

Delgado was owner manager of the digital media Ola Manta, in which he dealt with events of relevance for the community and citizen complaints. He was a pre-candidate for councilman of the city of Manta. He was shot while driving his vehicle along an avenue in Montecristi, in Manabí. His daughter - a minor – was in the car but was unharmed. Authorities arrested two suspects.

On October 7, there was an attack on the RTS channel and death threats against the editor of the newspaper Extra. Two individuals on a motorcycle were captured by security cameras as they shot at the access door to RTS. The perpetrators of the attack also left in front of the channel a pamphlet signed by "La Nueva Generación", in apparent allusion to one of Mexico's drug trafficking cartels, with death threats against the editor of the newspaper Extra, Galo Martínez Leisker, and the newspaper's vendors, in addition to "prohibiting" its sale in Guayaquil and in the cities of Esmeraldas, Machala and Cuenca.

On October 5, the vehicle of journalist Sammy Nájera was set on fire.
In view of the violence, IAPA and other organizations asked Lasso's government to implement a protection system for journalists and press workers.

The attorney general's office ordered that five journalists enter the Victim and Witness Protection System in response to the attacks and threats suffered in Guayas, Morona Santiago, Azuay, Bolivar and Guayaquil.

The mayor of Guayaquil, Cynthia Viteri, continues to put pressure on Expreso. During the solemn session for the city's patron saint festivities, Viteri asked President Lasso to withdraw government advertising from the newspaper, dissatisfied with the journalistic questions.

President Lasso has also criticized the national press - which he sees as an opposition that wants to corner his government.

In a ruling considered favorable for freedom of the press and journalism - on October 3 - the Constitutional Court accepted most of the objections presented by President Lasso to a draft reform of the Communications Law presented by the National Assembly. Lasso's objections sought to neutralize the negative effects of the legislation, known as the "gag law" - created and used by former president Rafael Correa to censor the media and persecute journalists.

On August 24, Lasso presented the Court with the partial objections to reform the law - with the intention, according to the presidential office, of "burying" the gag law. In the coming weeks the legislators will have to amend the law without departing from the Court's ruling.

One of the articles vetoed by Lasso, whose veto was upheld and extended by the court, established that "the State must guarantee the right to the truth of all Ecuadorians - the dissemination of all false information is prohibited."
The court ruling specified that "the State cannot lend itself to be a 'truth police', and that it cannot say which information is true and which is false, nor can it create a state agency to supervise the media.

In its ruling, the Constitutional Court emphasized that the media must act with diligence and effort to verify and contrast information. However, it warned that "these deontological duties and commitments of the journalistic profession do not have as a consequence the possibility of demanding that journalists provide the absolute truth."

Other outstanding developments in this period:

Journalist Paúl Coello and cameraman David de la Torre - of Teleamazonas - were threatened during demonstrations in northern Quito.

On May 19, former president Rafael Correa and several of his followers hurled insults via social networks at journalist Arturo Torres - director of the Código Vidrio portal - for publishing an investigation of alleged acts of corruption by former vice president Jorge Glas.

On May 21, the Fundamedios portal was the target of attacks on its web page by troll centers after former president Correa described the organization as biased and pusher of misinformation.

On June 14, journalists Juan Carlos Sola and Brayan Borja - of the digital media La Voz Ciudadana EC - were attacked by a group of demonstrators in the city of Guaranda.

The same day journalist Patricio Viera and cameraman Carlos Córdoba - of Ecuavisa - were beaten by a group of community members outside the Judicial Complex in Latacunga, where Leonidas Iza, the leader of CONAIE, was detained.

On June 15, José Julián Ayala Cocha - president of the Indigenous Movement of Cotopaxi - was arrested while covering the days of protest in Cotopaxi. Also attacked by security forces were journalists Luis and Vinicio Chiluisa - of the digital media Cordillera.

On June 18, journalists Ángel Mediavilla and Andrea Mediavilla - of the digital media Tumbaco Informado - were evicted by military personnel from the Juan Larrea bridge, on the Ruta Viva - where they were reporting live on the so-called March for Peace.

On June 19, the portal of the public media Pichincha Comunicaciones was the object of several attacks by hackers - which caused the web page to be out of service.

On June 20, journalist Evelyn Cuenca - of the newspaper La Prensa de Chimborazo - reported that she was beaten several times while covering a story in downtown Riobamba by several demonstrators who wanted to prevent her from filming.

On June 20, in El Triunfo (Guayas), Ecuavisa journalist Diego Cuenca was threatened with whips and forced to withdraw from coverage, while cameraman Javier Ruiz and assistant Jorge Peñafiel were whipped on the shoulders, back and arms.

On June 21, in Cotopaxi province, Excelencia, 94.7 FM - a public radio station in La Maná - reported that its repeater tower was damaged after an attack - which caused the station to remain off the air for several days.

On June 25, Adriana Bermeo - UCSG channel - and cameramen Manuel Villagómez and Santiago Gil were attacked with sticks outside the Casa de la Cultura in Quito.

On August 7, several organizations rejected the veto of journalists of the newspaper El Universo by the Ecuadorian Soccer Federation (FEF) to cover the Qatar 2022 World Cup with their own sources, in retaliation for information on the nationality of a player of the Ecuadorian national team.

On August 8, the car of Fernando León - director of the weekly El Pueblo, of Gualaceo - was found at the bottom of a ravine. León was covering the poor state of the road that connects the provinces of Azuay and Morona Santiago.

On September 15, the home of journalist Jayro Delgado - founder of the Sucúa online media - was the target of an explosive attack and several death threats.

On September 19, a journalist from Expreso, Guayaquil, whose name was not disclosed, reported that unknown persons threw two explosive devices - known as house-wreckers - against the door and a window of his home. No injuries or material damage were reported. Granasa - the publisher of Expreso - ratified its support for the work of its journalists in the face of threats and rejected any form of intimidation.

On September 29 journalists Anderson Boscán and Alondra Santiago were victims of xenophobic attacks on social networks - calling for their deportation from the country. Boscán is of Venezuelan origin and Santiago is Cuban.

On October 5, the van of journalist Sammy Nájera Benavides - director of the program La Voz del Pueblo on radio Guaranda - was set on fire by unknown persons in the parish of Magdalena, Chimbo canton in Bolívar. The media outlet considered that the attack was in retaliation for his denunciations of corruption.