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Ecuadorian government uses radio messages to discredit private media

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 15 October 2012, a radio 'cadena' interrupted for approximately six and a half minutes news programs on the radio stations with the highest ratings, in an attempt to discredit the work of Fundamedios and assert that certain media outlets do not comply with labor laws.

This cadena - which was broadcast exclusively by Exa, Democracia, Radio Quito, Platinum, Visión, Sonorama, and Centro radio stations - was very similar to a TV cadena broadcast on 10 October, precisely 24 hours after Fundamedios attended a hearing at the First Civil Division of the Provincial Court of Pichincha, to appeal the president's policy of forbidding his ministers to grant interviews to certain private media outlets.

The cadena stated that Fundamedios is responsible, to a certain degree, for the alleged lack of compliance with labor regulations by some media outlets. "Not all the media are complying with the law and this is known by organizations such as Fundamedios, which call themselves defenders of journalists". Fundamedios should worry "first that the journalists it protects, should be up to date in the payment of their dues, whether their employers are media outlets or not".

On 8 October another radio cadena interrupted for five and a half minutes the news programs of Exa, Democracia, Radio Quito, Platinum and Visión radio stations to justify the US$80,000 fine imposed on Vistazo magazine after an Electoral Tribunal (TCE) considered one of its editorial articles to be "electoral propaganda".

This cadena stated that "faced with the decision made by the Electoral Tribunal, voices are already being raised in the defense of the magazine and are joining together to distort the information and the concept of opinion itself. That is how the esprit de corps works". After presenting excerpts of opinions expressed by journalists about the radio cadenas - concerning the negative precedent that the TCE's sentence would imply - the government stated: "one lie after another, not only is information manipulated, but now they try to mislead people about the right to express an opinion".

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