The Government of Ecuador has Threatened to Dissolve FUNDAMEDIOS, a Civil Society Organization

Fundación LED (Libertad de Expresión + Democracia) expresses its deep concern about what is happening with FUNDAMEDIOS, a civil society organization from Ecuador which is facing dissolution proceedings in the framework of an administrative action brought by the Communications Secretariat of Ecuador (SECOM).

Together with Fundación LED and other organizations which advocate for the right to freedom of expression and of press in our region, FUNDAMEDIOS is part of Red Latinoamericana en Defensa de la Libertad de Expresión (in English, Latin American Network for the Defence of Freedom of Expression).

It is not the first time that FUNDAMEDIOS has been harassed on account of its work. In April 2013, the President of Ecuador himself spoke of the organization pejoratively. Later on, in 2014, the organization was put under the control of SECOM, the media regulator in Ecuador—which should not be overseeing an NGO and its activities.

On this occasion, FUNDAMEDIOS has been accussed by SECOM of not fulfilling the object set forth in the organization´s Bylaws because it reproduced newspaper articles criticizing the Government. SECOM demanded that FUNDAMEDIOS file its defence in ten days time, after which the agency might decide to go ahead with the dissolution proceedings.

Fundación LED has repeatedly mentioned that the rights of freedom of expression and of press are being affected in Ecuador as a consequence of different actions adopted by that country´s Government.

Government intervention in the daily Hoy, of Quito, as well as the complaints against journalists filed at Court by government officials and public agencies (such as in the case of comedian Xavier Bonilla), and the different proceedings brought against the media upon the enforcement of the Media Law are most distressing vis-á-vis the applicability of the principles set forth in different international treaties signed by our nations.

We have also mentioned that this situation is not unique to Ecuador, but rather that it is typical in this regional context in which some governments tend to restrict the work done by journalists at the same time that they try to impose hegemonic communications through sympathising media.

The organizations in  Red Latinoamericana en Defensa de la Libertad de Expresión that have been working together since 2013 have expressed their solidarity with FUNDAMEDIOS and its Director, César Ricaurte, who in March this year attended a conference in Buenos Aires, organized by Fundación LED, at which he warned about the threats against FUNDAMEDIOS by the Rafael Correa Administration.

LED shall do its best for the FUNDAMEDIOS case to be taken as seriously as it should, and shall report the case to the relevant international agencies so as to guarantee that the fundamental principles prevailing in any democratic society are respected.