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Ecuador

2011

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President Correa won his defamation suit but is appealing for more damages. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, July 21, 2011--An editor and three executives from the Ecuadoran news daily El Universo were sentenced to three years in prison and $40 million in fines on Wednesday for defaming President Rafael Correa, according to local news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentence today and called on Ecuadoran authorities to bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

New York, July 21, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns a sentence issued Wednesday in a libel case brought by Ecuador's president which sets an alarming precedent for suppressing free expression. The sentence, which is being appealed, calls for three years imprisonment each for three executives and an editor, in addition to $40 million in fines.

New York, May 2, 2011--Provincial Ecuadoran radio journalist Walter Vite Benítez was sentenced Wednesday to one year imprisonment on criminal defamation charges stemming from a critical comment about the local mayor made three years ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Ecuadoran authorities to release Vite and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

President Correa's initiatives could violate constitutional and international guarantees for press freedom. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, April 5, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of a provincial Ecuadoran radio station and calls on local regulators to allow the station to resume broadcasting. Voz de la Selva Esmeralda Oriental Canela radio, known for its critical coverage of local authorities, had appealed an order to close the station on bogus administrate violations, according to CPJ research. The appeal was still pending when police shut it down. 

New York, March 31, 2011--The critical Ecuadoran daily El Universo, three of its executives, and its opinion editor could face jail time and hefty fines in a defamation complaint filed by President Rafael Correa last week. Correa should immediately drop the defamation suit and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.   

In Latin America, A Return of Censorship

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional leaves white space for an image the government won't allow. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

By Carlos Lauría

As the preeminent political family in the northeastern state of Maranhão for more than 40 years, the Sarneys are used to getting their way in Brazilian civic life. So when the leading national daily O Estado de S. Paulo published allegations in June 2009 that linked José Sarney, the Senate president and the nation's former leader, to nepotism and corruption, the political clan did not sit idly by. The Sarneys turned to a judge in Brasília, winning an injunction that halted O Estado from publishing any more reports about the allegations. Eighteen months later, as 2010 came to a close, the ban remained in effect despite domestic and international outcry.

Top Developments
• Journalists attacked, broadcasters censored during police uprising.
• Correa administration orders broadcasters to air official rebuttals.

Key Statistic
6: Hours during which broadcasters were told to suspend programming, carry state news reports on police revolt.


President Rafael Correa's administration used censorship powers throughout the year to supplant independent news and commentary. Authorities compelled critical broadcasters to interrupt news shows to air official rebuttals. And in September, when hundreds of police officers staged violent nationwide protests over plans to reduce their bonus pay, the Communications Ministry ordered broadcasters to halt their own news reports and carry programming from state-owned Ecuador TV.

New York, February 2, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities interrupted a news program critical of the Ecuadoran government on Monday to air an official rebuttal, a practice that has become standard in the administration of President Rafael Correa, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ calls on Ecuadoran authorities to stop this practice, which has a chilling effect on public discourse.   

New York, January 18, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities have been holding computers and equipment belonging to the critical newsmagazine Vanguardia since a police raid on its offices a month ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists has concluded the seizure was reprisal for the magazine's editorial positions and calls on authorities to return the property.  

2011

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Killed in Ecuador

2 journalists killed since 1992

1 journalist murdered

1 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

1 Journalist killed, the first work-related fatality since 2005.

Country data, analysis »

Critics Are Not Criminals: Campaign Against the Criminalization of Speech
Contact

Americas

Senior Program Coordinator:
Carlos Lauría

Research Associate:
Sara Rafsky

clauria@cpj.org
srafsky@cpj.org

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