By Liliana Honorato
On Saturday, July 28, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that official government advertising will be withheld from several private news media outlets that have accused his administration of damaging freedom of expression in Ecuador, reported the news site Lainformacion.com.
The announcement was made just weeks after Correa told members of the presidential cabinet to not give interviews with private news media outlets. Correa alleges that the Ecuadorian private press is corrupt, and contends that it would be a contradiction for the government to support the media after telling Ecuadorian citizens to boycott them.
According to the news agency AFP, Frank La Rue, United Nation's rapporteur for freedom of expression, said that he didn't think it was a good idea for the president to tell his public officials which news outlets they can speak to and which they cannot. "That is to get in trouble, because that creates a censorship mechanism," said La Rue.
This is just one of the multiple measures that President Correa has taken against the Ecuadorian press since he became president in 2007. Correa has publicly attacked journalists in the country, called for closed several private news media outlets, Latin American citizens to rebel against the press's "dictatorship abuses," said that leftist governments "are affected by the persecution of journalists," and accused journalists of alleged "moral damages," which have resulted in multi-million dollar lawsuits and even prison sentences against the accused journalists.
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.