Government of Ecuador to sue newspaper La Hora for a third time

The government of Ecuador announced that it will file a new lawsuit against newspaper La Hora for having published a series of photographs that, it claims, incites to hatred, reported newspaper El Universo. The National Secretariat of Communication, Secom, plans to file the lawsuit between today and tomorrow, the newspaper added.

On Thursday April 4, La Hora published photos of two Waorani Indians who were allegedly killed with spears by members of the Taromenane tribe – a voluntarily isolated community in the Amazonic community of Orellana, reported newspaper La Tribuna. According to a Secom press release, the images are “inappropriate and can incite to racial hatred and violence.” Secom added that having published the photographs was a crime that could be punished with between six months and three years in prison.

Ecuatorian non-profit Fundamedios pointed out that the Inter-American Human Rights Court established that the publication of information on possible rights violations was  “especially protected” and could not be the target of claims of ulterior responsibility or freedom of expression abuses. The organization added that the crime of "incitement" is not valid unless "the certainty exists that the intention of the publisher was to provoke acts of discrimination and violence against a determined group."

Newspaper La Hora has faced the courts twice in the past during the administration of President Rafael Correa. The first time was in 2007 when Correa sued the newspaper for libel after the La Hora published an editorial called “Official Vandalism”, El Universo wrote. The second time was in November last year, when the newspaper was forced to publish a correction and an apology.

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.