Ecuadorian Court suspends session to analyze press restriction regulation

By Liliana Honorato

On Thursday, July 19, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador suspended its session scheduled to analyze the legality of the controversial Democracy Code, a regulation pushed by President Rafael Correa that regulates press coverage during electoral campaigns, reported the newspaper El Diario. The court already suspended the measures on July 12.

According to the news agency EFE, the session started with the objection of a few judges, and also included five lawsuits presented by the press and political party unions that say that the regulation "threatens freedom of expression, among other motives."

One of the criticisms was presented by the National Union of Journalists that said that enacting the measures damages the work of journalists and the press and creates self-censorship, reported the newspaper El Universo.

Although President Correa said that the Code would improve the quality of information in Ecuador, those in opposition say that the regulation would allow for the government to have more control over news media in the country, according to EFE.

President Correa, who maintains a controversial relationship with the press in Ecuador, was criticized by several organizations that advocate for freedoms of press and expression, because of his attacks against the press and his attempts to restrict the free practice of journalism. Among a large list of criticisms, named “presidential trespasses against opposing journalists” by the organization Reporters Without Borders, the most recent criticisms against Correa were for the large number of news media outlets that were closed in Ecuador.

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.