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Government tables proposal to hold media accountable to public

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 3 March 2010, President Rafael Correa sent a letter to the National Assembly requesting that the media should be included in the accountability section of the new Public Participation Organic Law project, as it comprises "public entities, natural persons or legal entities that provide a public service consisting of communication".

This would entitle the public to request information about the media, although what kind of information should be public is not specified.

The Public Participation and Social Control Council would be in charge of establishing the mechanisms and procedures for accountability and the compliance with these regulations. This entity has been questioned because several of its members are close to the ruling party.

Jurist Antonio Rodríguez believes this political move seeks not only to control the private media, but also to persecute it.

Juan Carlos Calderón, a journalist with the newspaper "Expreso", expressed the view that if communication is classified as a public service, then government control over the media could be justified. He pointed out that the president is attempting to impinge upon the freedom of expression and the right to communication.

The government supported the measure by pointing out that the media provide the public service of communication, so therefore the public has the right to know what its aims are and how it meets its obligations.

According to the president's letter, the media should also create programs that publicise the public's rights and duties.

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