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Ecuadorian TV station fined for showing "morbid" content

On October 6th, 2014, the Superintendence of Information and Communication (Supercom) sanctioned the TV station Canal Uno with two fines, a total of USD 10,200 dollars, and issued a written reprimand for allegedly violating multiple articles of the Communications Law (LOC), concerning the reporting of restricted information about children, teenagers and ethical standards.

The Supercom, which acted on its own initiative after an internal report, found that the news program “Noticiero Uno” allowed the "free flow of information that violates the right to dignity and image of a girl". According to the Supercom, the program's report, aired on June 9, showed images and names of minors, allowing "individualization and identification of the child," as stated in the resolution. This was the reason given for one of the fines. The body imposed an additional fine for "not giving priority to the essential protection of children and adolescents, especially against victimization."

The Supercom also issued a written reprimand against the TV channel warning them to improve their practices, to prevent morbid treatment of information about crimes, accidents, disasters and other similar events. The Supercom said that "although the LOC does not provide a definition of the term 'morbid', this concept is common knowledge, and the content of the news tended to cause unpleasantness".

At the hearing developed last September 29th, Rafael Ignacio Cuesta Caputi, the media's representative, rejected a possible penalty for revictimization. However, he acknowledged that in the news report the face of a girl, aged seven, who was allegedly raped, was shown for less than two seconds by an inadvertent error. According Cuesta Caputi, this mistake was corrected in subsequent broadcasts.

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