Foundation LED’s Position vis-a-vis Freedom of Expression in Latin America

The LED Foundation draws citizen attention to authoritarian attitudes by different administrations in this region concerning state action communications.

The unfortunate episode when a public official in Ecuador was forced to excuse himself from taking part in a radio program, as he was ordered to do over the phone, is an example of the escalating ill feelings in many administrations against unsympathizing media.

Such new curtailment of citizens’ rights to information and of media workers to exercise their profession freely is in line with the complaints by journalists in our country who  are prevented from asking questions at press conferences, as well as with the warnings by different Human Rights organizations about the steps being taken against the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the OAS.

The 4th item of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Organization of American States clearly states “Access to information held by the State is a fundamental right of every individual. States have the obligation to guarantee the full exercise of this right.”

The decision by the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to stop officials from being interviewed by unsympathizing media is contrary to such principle and constitutes a serious precedent against the rights defended by the OAS.

We demand that all governments thoroughly respect the rights that citizens have to seek information as they seem fit and invite all citizens to join in in the daily defense of such freedom.