Ecuador´s Restrictive Media Law

Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) has expressed its deep concern about how freedom of expression is deteriorating in the Republic of Ecuador after a law restricting the exercise of such right in that country.

Among other conflicting issues, the law adopted by Ecuador´s National Assembly allows the authorities to regulate content and control the media by means of summary actions.

In Fundación LED we believe that this rule violates the principles we stand for and infringes in a direct manner the right of the people of Ecuador to exercise their right to information and to express their opinions freely.

The American Convention on Human rights (also known as the Pact of San José of Costa Rica) states: “The right of expression may not be restricted by any indirect methods or means, such as the abuse of government or private controls over newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.”

Indeed, the law passed by Ecuador infringes the above principle given that its enforcement means restricted possibilities of obtaining frequencies, leaves the private media under the control of burocratic agencies which may take action against them, allows licenses to be withdrawn without a Court order as well as prior censorship.

Our Foundation has repeatedly warned about how freedom of expression is deteriorating in Ecuador. It is a matter of concern that the arguments used to defend the Ecuador Bill, which was subsequently enacted, are the same ones used to uphold the Media Law in our country. By “democratizing discourse” and upholding media “plurality,” the Argentine law has only managed to achieve greater concentration and a single discourse—most likely Ecuador will follow that same path from now on.

Fundación LED shall follow the enforcement of this law closely and, together with all the other members of Red Latinoamericana en Defensa de la Libertad de Expresión (in Spanish, Latin American Network for the Defense of Freedom of Expression),shall assess which actions may be necessary to guaranteethe full force and effect of such right throughout the region.