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Ecuador media regulator sanctions newspaper over cartoon depicting lawmaker

UPDATE from Fundamedios: Newspaper El Universo replaces Bonil sunday cartoon to publish apology (20 February 2015)

This statement was originally published on on 16 February 2015.

Ecuador's media regulator on Friday ordered the daily newspaper El Universo to issue a public apology over a political cartoon satirising a lawmaker from President Rafael Correa's party.

In a statement, the Superintendent of Information and Communication (Supercom) said the cartoon amounted to “socio-economic discrimination” against the Afro-Ecuadorian community and therefore violated Ecuador's Communications Law.

The body's ruling obligates El Universo to display the apology on its web site for seven consecutive in the same section in which the cartoon was originally published. The cartoonist, Xavier (Bonil) Bonilla, was verbally reprimanded and told to “correct and improve” his practice.

“IPI is deeply dismayed by Supercom's ruling, which amounts to an unacceptable intrusion into Mr. Bonilla's and El Universo's right to free expression, regardless of whether one agrees with the content of the cartoon or not,” IPI Interim Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said today. “Supercom should revise its decision in line with international human rights standards”.

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