Ecuador Internacional

Ecuadoran daily fined for publishing unsatisfactory government rebuttal

Committee to Protect Journalists 17/06/2015

Bogotá, June 16, 2015--Ecuador's state media oversight commission on Saturday fined the independent daily El Universo about US$350,000, accusing the paper of unsatisfactorily publishing a government rebuttal to a story, according to news reports.

The move was the latest in a series of sanctions meted out by the Superintendency of Information and Communication (SUPERCOM), which was created under Ecuador's two-year-old Communications Law. CPJ research shows the law is one of the most restrictive in the Americas and is filled with ambiguous language demanding that journalists provide accurate and balanced information or face civil or criminal penalties.

"This ridiculous and disproportionate fine represents the latest move by the Ecuadoran government to censor critical news and control the flow of information," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ Senior Americas Program Coordinator, from New York. "Apparently, legally harassing journalists isn't enough for Ecuadoran authorities--now, they want to write the headlines and articles too."

On March 22, El Universo published a front-page story that alleged shortfalls in government funding and inefficiencies at state-run hospitals, which are part of the state's social security health system, known as the IESS. The paper said its journalists attempted to interview the IESS director and sent him a list of questions but received no response before publishing the story.

The next day, President Rafael Correa criticized the story on Twitter, questioned its statistics, which had been provided by IESS, and said the paper had failed to get the government's side of the story. Under Article 24 of the Communications Law, anyone who feels their dignity or honor has been adversely affected by a media report has the right of response.

Read more here

Fuente Original