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Ecuador Outlaws “Media Lynching”

Source: Portal IMPRENSA

Approved by the Ecuadoran National Assembly in June, the Organic Law of Communications  has caused controversay among private-sector media owners.

According to CartaCapital, the Interamerican Press Society [Sociedade Interamericana de Imprensa (SIP)], during a meeting in São Paulo in late 2012, said that  the presidents of Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela had launched an offensive to silence the “indepdendent” media. In this case, SIP says the Organic Law formalizes a series of  “journalistic crimes.”

The Ecuadoran government measure limits the scope of private property. According to a report by Ecuador’s Commission on Auditing and Concession of Radio and TV Frequencies, created in 2008 by means of a constitutional amendment, nearly 90%  of the Ecuadoran media is privately owned and commercial in nature.

The new law redistributes radio and TV frequencies, setting aside 33% for private owners, 33% for public media and 35% for community media. It calls for the elimination of monopolies, and forbids the ownership of broadcasting companies in a single province by direct relatives of media owners, to two degrees of kinship.

Another point criticized by media owners is Article 26 of the new law, which prohibits “media lynchings.” The text of the law states that  “it is prohibited to broadcast information which, directly or indirectly or through the use of third parties, is produced as a concerted effort and repeatedly broadcast over one or more media, for the purpose of discrediting persons or organizations or reducing their public credibility.”

Freedom House describes the law as “an attempt to silence independent media in Ecuador.”

Then again, the  Freedom House roster of Freedom Champions could not appeal less compellingly to Bolivarian reformist governments like Ecuador:

  1. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  2. Broadcasting Board of Governors
  3. Connect US Fund of Tides Foundation
  4.  Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  5. European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights
  6. Google
  7. The John Hurford Foundation
  8. Jyllands-Posten Foundation
  9. Leon Levy Foundation
  10. Lilly Endowment Inc.
  11. John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  12. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  13. Open Society Foundations
  14. The Schloss Family Foundation
  15. Walter J. Schloss
  16. Smith Richardson Foundation
  17. Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
  18. U.S. Agency for International Development
  19. U.S. Department of State
  20. United Nations Democracy Fund

If the Wikipedia item on Television in Ecuador is correct, meantime,

Private and government-run channels coexist at the national, regional, and local levels. Cable channels are also beginning to appear, most of which are exclusive to the companies that operate them. Finally, there are also internet television channels, some of which have specific themes like LGBT programming.

There are six private channels (Ecuavisa, Teleamazonas, RTS, Telerama, RTU, Radio y Televisión Unidas, Latele and Oromar Televisión) and four government-run channels (TC Televisión, Gama TV, Canal Uno and Ecuador TV) available throughout the country. In 2011, 83% of channels were privately owned, 17% were publicly owned, and 0% were community owned.