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Ecuador

2013


Clockwise from top left: Nedim Şener, Janet Hinostroza, Nguyen Van Hai, Bassem Youssef (AP, Sebastián Oquendo, To Coucle Refaat, Free Journalists Network of Vietnam)
Press freedom award winners announced 

Four journalists--Janet Hinostroza (Teleamazonas, Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Capital Broadcast Center, Egypt), Nedim Şener (Posta, Turkey), and Nguyen Van Hai (Dieu Cay, Vietnam)--will be honored with CPJ's 2013 International Press Freedom Awards in recognition of their courageous reporting in the face of severe reprisal.

Upon receiving the news, Hinostroza told CPJ: "It will be an honor for me to receive this recognition, which will drive me to continue working for freedom of expression in my country and support the different processes that are being developed around the world to defend this right."

Carlos Lauría's testimony starts at 1:10 in the video.

Carlos Lauría, CPJ's Americas senior program coordinator, provided testimony before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of US House of Representatives on Tuesday. Lauría emphasized that violence and government harassment are the main emerging trends that illustrate the major challenges facing the press in the Western hemisphere.

A transcript of the full testimony can be found here.

Like the death of a loved one.

That's how Juan Carlos Calderón, editor of the newsmagazine Vanguardia, described the June 28 closing of the newsweekly that for eight years published hard-hitting investigations about public officials and faced frequent government harassment. Yet the final days of Vanguardia were almost as controversial as its stories.

In a Hong Kong mall, a television monitor shows Snowden. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Edward Snowden's global travels have highlighted the chasm between the political posturing and actual practices of governments when it comes to free expression. As is well known now, the former government contractor's leaks exposed the widespread phone and digital surveillance being conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency, practices at odds with the Obama administration's positioning of the United States as a global leader on Internet freedom and its calls for technology companies to resist foreign demands for censorship and surveillance. 

Opposition lawmakers protest the approval of the Communications Law in the National Assembly. (AFP/Eduardo Flores)

After inspecting a hydroelectric project in northern Ecuador last year, President Rafael Correa complained about the scant press coverage of his visit and suggested it was part of a media blackout. "Did the Ecuadoran media conspire to ignore this important event? It seems like that is the case," Correa told the crowd at a town hall meeting. "In this country, good news is not news."

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.

Foreign Minister of Ecuador Ricardo Patiño speaks about human rights during the Organization of American States general assembly in Washington, D.C., on March 22. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

By reaffirming the autonomy and independence of the regional human rights system and rejecting attempts to neutralize the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression, the Organization of American States (OAS) chose last week to discard proposals that would have made citizens throughout the hemisphere more vulnerable to abuses.

The OAS extraordinary assembly, held at the organization's headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Friday, adopted a resolution by which the 35 member states ratified the ability of the commission to continue receiving voluntary contributions. Analysts and human rights advocates say the decision was a blow to countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, known as ALBA, which have been pushing to preclude outside funding for the IACHR.

New York, March 12, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the prison sentence issued Friday to Yaco Martínez, director of the daily La Nación in the province of Carchi. Martínez was convicted of defaming a former governor with an article published in his newspaper, according to news reports.

A passer-by stops to look at a newspaper the day after Correa is re-elected. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

In the wake of President Rafael Correa's landslide re-election on Sunday, many Ecuadoran reporters are bracing for another four years of conflict with his left-leaning government.  Neither side claims to relish the prospect, but continued clashes seem inevitable given the bad blood that has developed between them. 



CPJ's Robert Mahoney identifies the 10 countries where press freedom suffered the most in 2012. They include Syria, the world's deadliest country for the press; Russia, where repressive laws took effect; Brazil, where journalist murders soared; and Ethiopia, where terror laws are used to silence the press. (3:26)

A system to defend free expression is under attack from foes and former allies. By Carlos Lauría

(AFP/Aizar Raldes)

The right to news and opinion is enshrined in international law. It's not enough. By Joel Simon

(AFP/Spencer Platt)

The press freedom climate continued its sharp decline under President Rafael Correa. Courts upheld defamation convictions against executives of the daily El Universo and authors of the book Big Brother in connection with their critical coverage of the Correa administration. The president, who initiated the complaints, later pardoned the journalists, but the rulings cast a chill on in-depth reporting. Correa granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a move that underlined his antipathy toward the United States and sought to counter his image as an opponent of free expression. U.N. member states made 24 recommendations on freedom of expression at the country’s Universal Periodic Review. The Ecuadoran government rejected three of the recommendations, including one that urged the repeal of laws that criminalize speech. The president also began a sustained attack on the Organization of American States’ special rapporteur for freedom of expression, a move that threatened to gut a vital defender of the regional press. An anti-press attitude was prevalent among all branches of Ecuadoran government. Legislators debated a bill that would allow a media regulatory body to impose arbitrary sanctions on the press and limit free speech. The telecommunications office closed at least 11 broadcasters, more than half of which were critical of the government. And a photographer was killed in direct retaliation for his reporting, the first confirmed journalist murder in Ecuador since 2005.

From conflict-ridden Syria to aspiring world leader Brazil, 10 nations on a downslope. By Karen Phillips

(Reuters/Enrique Marcarian)

Supporters of President Rafael Correa attend a political rally in Quito, Ecuador, on February 9. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

It's by far the dullest space in the newspaper: Every day in El Universo, Ecuador's leading daily, readers can find eight small photos and news blurbs summing up the activities of the eight presidential candidates. The articles are the same size and blocked together in a layout that resembles a tic-tac-toe game, minus the ninth square.

The government of Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa has pre-empted more than eight days worth of air time with mandatory broadcasts. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

On September 11, 2012, the Ecuadoran government interrupted a morning newscast on the Teleamazonas TV station for an official bulletin. What could be so urgent? A coup d'etat? An earthquake? A cholera outbreak? 

It turned out the government sought to clarify what President Rafael Correa had for breakfast.

Critics say that Correa, seen here speaking during a campaign rally for the upcoming presidential election, has turned the Ecuadoran press into his whipping boy. (AFP/Rodrigo Buendia)

One result of President Rafael Correa's high-profile campaign to demonize the country's private media can be seen on the desk of José Velásquez, news manager at Teleamazonas, a private Quito television station often critical of the government. Among the documents piled high on his desk are lawsuits, which used to be a rare thing. Encouraged by Correa, who has personally sued newspapers and journalists, Velásquez says, the subjects of Teleamazonas news reports are now filing between two and five lawsuits per month against the station.

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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
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Americas

Senior Program Coordinator:
Carlos Lauría

Research Associate:
Sara Rafsky

clauria@cpj.org
srafsky@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
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Fax: 212-465-9568

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