Ecuadorian parliament refuses to archive controversial media regulation bill; postpones vote

After refusing to archive the controversial media regulation bill, the National Assembly of Ecuador decided to postpone the vote on the proposal and decided that it will instead vote article by article, the news agency EFE reported on Wednesday, April 11.

The communications bill has been criticized as being a threat to freedom of expression for several reasons, among them is the creation of a Communication Council that would include government representatives. This regulating entity would control "the broadcast of discriminative, racist, violent and sexual content," which, according to supporters of this bill, would improve the quality of information, the news site Infolatam said.

This law "conflicts with the practice of journalism," the president of the National Union of Journalists, Vicente Ordóñez, told The Associated Press, as any citizen could sue a journalist if he or she felt offended, which would in turn cause "fear and self-censorship, which is worse than censorship," Ordóñez said.

However, according to the Public News Agency of Ecuador and South America (Andes in Spanish), members of the Network of Intellectuals in Defense of Humanity consider the proposed communication law in Ecuador to be "a unique opportunity for the democratization of the media: equitable distribution of the spectrum, promotion of multiculturalism, freedom of expression and promotion of national production."

Without a doubt, the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, “has turned Ecuador into one of the hemisphere’s most restrictive nations for the press" with all his multiple attacks on the media, according to a special report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), published in 2011.