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Court in Ecuador denies injunction to break embargo on private media access to officials

A court in Ecuador denied an injunction that sought to rescind an executive order from President Rafael Correa prohibiting his ministers and other public officials from giving interviews to private media, arguing that there was no evidence of a "violation of a constitutional right," according to the non-governmental organization Fundamedios.

The court's ruling also stated that the "directive from the head of state to public officials does not affect citizens' constitutional guarantee to the right of information," added Fundamedios. This decision upheld a previous ruling in September 2012 by another judge who dismissed the injunction.

The decision went on to argue that "the citizenry's right to information about public officials' management is not limited to journalistic interviews of said officials," reported the newspaper El Diario. The ruling added that when an official refuses to comment on a certain topic it is not the same as saying "he's denying the information [...], because the law does not give him the opportunity to do so." In these cases, the official is instead exercising his "constitutional right to individual liberty," reported the newspaper.

The controversy started in June 2012, when President Correa announced that his cabinet ministers would not give interviews to private Ecuadorian media outlets, which he referred to as "corrupt press." The Center for Human Rights at the Catholic University of Ecuador Law School and Fundamedios filed an injunction against the order.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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