New York, June 14, 2013–The new Communications Law approved today by the Ecuadoran National Assembly represents a severe blow to freedom of expression, said the Committee to Protect Journalists. The law establishes regulation of editorial content and gives authorities the power to impose arbitrary sanctions and censor the press.
“The approval of the Communications Law is the latest step in the deterioration of press freedom in Ecuador that has occurred under President Rafael Correa,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas senior program coordinator. “The restrictive provisions and vague language of this legislation run counter to constitutional guarantees and international standards on freedom of expression. The law not only undermines journalists’ ability to report critically but threatens the right of citizens to be informed about sensitive issues. This legislation puts into law a key goal of the Correa presidency: muzzling all critics of his administration.”
The Communications Law has been debated since 2009. Correa’s administration has engaged in widespread repression of the media, pre-empting private news broadcasts, enacting restrictive legal measures, smearing critics, and filing debilitating defamation lawsuits.