At least 15 articles of Ecuador's new Organic Penal Code, partially approved by the National Assembly, could limit freedom of expression and turn into a tool to persecute citizens critical of the government, according to a report published by NGO Fundamedios.
The launching of news site Plan V was quick – almost as quick as the first threats the new publication received.
Luis Chancay, president of the National Educators’ Union of Guayas, Ecuador, filed a complaint before the People’s Defender on Sept. 23 because of a memorandum from the Ministry of Education. This memorandum prohibits rectors, directors and professors of educational institutions in the Province of Guayas from giving statements to the press without the authorization of the sub secretary of said ministry, according to the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universal.
In a public display of derision against private media that has become habitual, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa again ripped apart the editions of a handful of local newspapers during one of his recent televised national addresses known as "cadenas." This time Correa also warned three publications that they could face sanctions under the country's Communications Law, under which they are required to "publish public interest articles," non-profit Fundamedios reported.
Government officials closed down a radio station and confiscated the equipment on Wednesday, Sep. 18, in the city of Guayaquil (southeast of the nation), informed news agency AFP. According to the Supervisor of Telecommunications, Supertel, the closure was due to the station operating illegally, reported AFP.
A total of 55 radio and television frequencies will be appropriated by the Ecuadorian government for failing to comply with the country's new communications law, said telecommunications minister Jaime Guerrero during a Sep. 20 press conference, news portal Infobae reported.
The Ecuadorian government has proposed penalizing individuals who express opinions that could be considered defamatory on social media, freedom of expression non-profit Fundamedios reported.
A group of 60 persons -- among them journalists, politicians, writers and former Ecuadorian legislators -- have filed a new lawsuit before the Constitutional Court with the goal of revoking the country's controversial communications law, representing the second attempt to strike down the law through the courts.
After receiving criticism for putting an end to an initiative that sought to prevent drilling for oil in parts of the Yasuní National Park, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said on Twitter on Monday that he will propose a referendum to eliminate the country's print media in an alleged effort to save paper.
The closure of the magazine Vanguardia in Ecuador at the end of June not only represented the loss of one of the few critical voices in the country -- it was also a devastating blow for the morale of the profession.