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Fundamedios responds to President Correa's allegations over its funding

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - 25 June 2011 - During the 226th "Enlace Presidencial" program of Saturday, 25 June 2011, President Rafael Correa alleged that Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de Medios (Fundamedios) is financed by USAID (United States Agency for International Development). This was said among several damaging remarks about the work of NGOs in the country, both national and international, and reported by the state newspaper "El Ciudadano":

"[The president] also referred to the USAID, which finances national organizations such as Fundamedios, an allegedly independent entity which actually defends the media's interests, and Participación Ciudadana . . . "

In the face of this, Fundamedios states:

1. We regret that the President of the Republic is misinformed and misinforms the public through his radio and TV program, inasmuch as Fundamedios has neither received nor currently receives any contributions from USAID.

2. The president's misinformation is doubly worrisome considering that the State has carried out a thorough investigation of Fundamedios and has requested the list of our donors since the creation of the organization in 2007 until today, as well as of the amounts received.

3. Our only current relationship with USAID is indirect; we are part of a coalition of the most prestigious Ecuadorian civil society organizations that are involved in a project for the "Strengthening of Civil Society". This project is completely public, open and has been approved by the Ecuadorian State, so that it can hardly be branded as "political" or "destabilizing".

4. From the information in the hands of the State, it is easy to deduce that Fundamedios has made a big effort to diversify its financing, to avoid depending on one single source and so fully guarantee our independence. We reiterate that no one entity provides institutional financing for our organization.

5. Fundamedios has strictly complied with all its obligations to the Ecuadorian State and we have fully collaborated with the authorities during their special investigations of our activities.

6. We stress that obtaining resources from the international cooperation agencies is entirely legal and legitimate. There is nothing obscure or conspiratorial about it, as it is perversely being implied. Fundamedios complies with every Ecuadorian law and delivers information and reports to the different authorities that request this. Moreover, through its public and private pronouncements all it has done is defend a full democracy and fundamental human rights such as the freedoms of the press, expression and association.

7. The President can hold whatever opinion he desires about Fundamedios; however, it is necessary to remember that the Ecuadorian State has the obligation to protect our work as defenders of human rights and as part of that obligation it must abstain from propagating a stigmatizing and defamatory discourse about our work.

Sincerely,
César Ricaurte
Executive Director
Fundamedios

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