Reporters Without Borders asks Ecuador’s president to stop attacks on the press

Reporters Without Borders sent a letter to President Rafael Correa of Ecuador expressing their concern over his hostile attitude and actions against the press in the Andean country. “The watchdog role played by the media, or NGOs, does not necessarily mean that they are your ‘enemy,'” the letter ends, signed by Jean-François Julliard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders.

The letter also requests that the Ecuadorean government address several facets of its media policy and the proposed communications law that would create a state media oligopoly and regulate the awarding and confiscation of radio and television broadcasting rights, and to cease making offensive statements about the press.

The official letter

The official website of Reporters Without Borders (http://es.rsf.org/) posted the obituary.

‘Revolution or media war, you must choose’ Open letter to President Rafael Correa

Rafael Correa Delgado 


President
Palacio de Carondelet
Quito, Ecuador

 

 

Mr. President,

Reporters Without Borders, an organization that defends freedom of expression, has recently become aware of the tensions growing, they face some of the private press. This conflict has further aggravated in the context of the claim you filed against the newspaper El Universo. Today, we fear that a polarization as it affects not only the editorial pluralism, but also the necessary debate on Ecuadorian society on communication and information.The situation requires clear choices on your part.
After the failure of a trial judge, issued on July 20 against the newspaper El Universo and three of their representatives, you had a paradoxical attitude. The appeal by the defendants against this lawsuit, joined by the attorneys you when monetary compensation was reduced to $ 40 million instead of $ 80 million you claimed at the beginning. The fine-both of which is exorbitant in our opinion, was accompanied by prison sentences against the three defendants. Then, keeping the suit against the Universe, yourself stated that he was anxious to arrest of the accused journalists.Moreover, the Aug. 28 you had the attention of sending a letter to the newspaper staff (see below), which claimed: “I will never allow workers to [the newspaper] are victims of bad faith and irresponsibility of those who, by running a business communication, is believed to owners of personal honor. “

Reporters Without Borders has never denied the aggression, even the excesses committed by journalists on reviews from you. Also, understand that you felt personally wounded by the terrible accusation of “crimes against humanity” which originated in this process, you made against police after the uprising of September 30, 2010. Regarding this event, the position of Reporters Without Borders was clear from the beginning. However, remember that this uprising was never supported or encouraged by a critical press or opposition to his government, as was the case in other African countries.

Above all, the events of September 30, 2010 should not be used in any way to justify the systematic hostility against the press that, although there was before, has increased since then. The compensation that you require daily El Universo is a real incentive to self-censorship. You can not simultaneously maintain demand and prove reassuring face of the newspaper staff. Time to choose and the decision transcends this case, which is not unique.

You can not expect to create a new situation of pluralism in their country and promote a balance between different types of media, persisted in replicate so extreme and uncompromising to any criticism he receives from the press. Revolution or media war, there is still a choice.

Reporters Without Borders tried to offer a fair analysis and weighted the initial version of Bill Communications. The debate on future legislation resumes today after a long period of controversy.The text proposes important amendments, such as the decriminalization of press offenses and the strict limitation of the content should be regulated or banned (pedophilia, direct appeals to hatred, racism or discrimination, incitement to violence claimed).It also means giving up all claims to define “accurate, timely and in context.” But more generally, this bill can not be discussed and provide results quickly if not addressed some challenges:

The balance pluralistic media between public, private and community support devolution demands clear guarantees, but also the independence of the media concerned. Now, what about the 12 media – in addition to the 7 with public status – which were seized recently by the state? What autonomy granted to them anyway?Pluralism adapt poorly to a media oligopoly of State established rather than a private and commercial oligopoly. Moreover if a public media or government economic ward confused with a state media, without a distancing from the official discourse. Such dependence is not preferable to conflict of interest (very real) within the private press.

The attribution or discretionary seizure frequency by the National Telecommunications Council (Conatel) is not acceptable. The just distribution of audiovisual space calls for deep reform. In that sense, we were surprised last August 8 the unilateral suspension of the grant allocated to the public television station Telesangay Amazon. According to its owners, who denounced a decision a “political background”, the media had the concession rate since May 13, 2009, and operated according to the standard. Now if it was a technical problem, as stated by the Conatel, would not it have been preferable to allow additional time to adapt to the norm instead of the pure and simple closure of the media?

Finally the debate we want, as you will not be possible if it lasts a climate of confrontation and hatred, in which official messages (strings) are increasingly responding to offensive unfavorable editorials. Communication services do not gain anything by imitating his worst detractors even less used to consider statements that become all the press responsible for a “plot” or an “attempt to overthrow” of him as President elect and legitimate.The diversion and abuse of “spots” in the form of personal attacks do not correspond to a communication objective. It is important that this be regulated as quickly as possible. In July 2011 the body of Citizen Participation in a $ 163,000 estimated the amount invested by the Presidency of the Republic more than an hour accumulated messages or notices (often aggressive).

The counter of the press, or NGOs, is not necessarily the “enemy” you. So we sent these recommendations. Hoping to get a response from you, I send my greetings President cordial.

Jean-François Julliard

 

Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 7 September, 2011.

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