South America - IFEX Member Campaigns
IFEX members call on Brazil's Congress to promptly pass the Marco Civil bill and on President Roussef to ensure its due implementation, as a measure to protect the right of Brazilians to an Internet that is free and open to all.
Over 30 IFEX members write to President Rafael Correa, calling on him to submit the recently-approved Ecuadorian Communications Law to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for a Consultative Opinion.
Seventeen states from the Americas, Europe and Asia suggested that the Ecuadorian government should respect and guarantee the freedoms of the press and of expression in the country.
IFEX-ALC values the pardon granted by President Rafael Correa, exempting three directors of the daily "El Universo" and a former feature writer from a sentence of three years in prison and a US$40 million fine, and refraining from pursuing further judicial action against the authors of the book "El Gran Hermano".
IFEX-ALC calls for and invites the government to accept its responsibilities with respect to freedom of expression by accepting the UPR recommendations, and to comply with all international freedom of expression standards.
"We prompt the international community to remain alert of any attempt to take down or weaken a scheme for the protection of rights," said the organisation.
Fundamedios believes that the sentence against "El Universo" will have calamitous consequences, not just for the exercise of the freedom of expression, but also for the effectiveness of democracy in Ecuador.
The first incident involves the onerous, disproportionate and unjustified sentence handed down against journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita, writers of the book "El Gran Hermano" (Big Brother), which highlights lucrative government contracts obtained by President Rafael Correa's brother.
The WAN-IFRA report reveals that the Ecuadorean government is "establishing a strict control over all arenas of public debate, while couching this in a debate centred around media plurality".
On the one-year anniversary of the amendments to the law, ARTICLE 19's analysis concludes that the law places illegitimate restrictions on freedom of expression and information.
Julio Chaparro and Jorge Torres were killed on April 24, 1991 in Segovia, where they had been sent by their newspaper, El Espectador of Bogotá, to cover the consequences of a massacre there two years earlier, in which 43 people died.
IFEX is appealing to authorities to address the recent threats against IFEX member Fundamedios and its director, and the attempts by government supporters and state officials to discredit the organisation.
The brief is based on broad international jurisprudence - especially that of the inter-American justice system - that holds that defamation sanctions must be dealt with by civil, not criminal, courts.
Human Rights Watch submitted a joint amicus brief with the Center for Freedom of Expression and Information of the University of Palermo (Argentina) before the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, arguing that desacato norms violate Ecuador's international human rights obligations.
At the same time, President Juan Manuel Santos unveiled his plan to increase broadband internet access.
The visit to assess the media situation in the country came as a follow-up effort after several expressions of concern by WAN-IFRA to the government in the past year, regarding a decline of freedom of expression in the country.
The final report presented at the conclusion of the Venezuela UPR process contained 148 recommendations, of which 95 were accepted, 15 deferred to the next stage and 38 rejected.
IFEX-ALC calls on the UN Human Rights Council members to urge the Venezuelan government to uphold the right to free expression.
In a near hour-long speech given in English, the president was in turn pugnacious, scholarly, and withering in critiquing the private press that he alleged "lies" and has a "lack of love for the truth."
A speech by President Rafael Correa at Columbia University in New York, "will serve to expose the inconsistent thinking of one who claims to support freedom of the press and of expression yet whose actions are totally opposed to such freedoms," IAPA noted.