An open letter defending IFEX member Fundamedios' right to publish.
Secretaría Nacional de Comunicacíon
San Salvador E6-49 y Eloy Alfaro
Código Postal: 170516 / Quito - Ecuador
Dear Mr. Alvarado,
IFEX, the global network of 95 organisations dedicated to promoting and defending freedom of expression, is writing to you to request the immediate retraction of SECOM's recent advisory to the Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study (Fundamedios) that forbids the publication of its alerts and threatens the dissolution of the organization. We also request your personal guarantee that the Fundamedios office will remain open and that their staff will be allowed to continue their legitimate work without interference.
Monitoring, documenting and disseminating information about the conditions of freedom of expression in society is essential to the functioning of civil society around the world and at the core of our members' work. It is inconceivable therefore that this activity could reasonably be construed as being outside the legitimate mandate of a freedom of expression organization such as Fundamedios, as defined by Ecuador's Executive Decree no. 16.
Fundamedios is a non-partisan organisation whose work benefits all Ecuadorians by protecting their access to information and right to speak freely about issues of concern to Ecuadorian society. Far from being considered unreasonable interference with Ecuadorian politics, this work enables a political environment in which all Ecuadorian citizens may be heard.
As it is SECOM's mandate to increase citizen participation in Ecuadorian governance, we believe it is natural for you to support Fundamedios' work in protecting free expression as an essential element of that participation. We therefore call on you to:
- Repeal the ban on Fundamedios alerts issued by SECOM on 24 June;
- Retract SECOM’s threat to dissolve the organization, and recognize Fundamedios’ lawful right to monitor, document and report on freedom of expression in Ecuador;
- Guarantee that Fundamedios’ offices will remain open and that SECOM will not seek to prevent its legitimate functioning, or issue instructions to other agencies of government to do so;
- Review SECOM’s application of Executive Decree No. 16 to ensure it is in keeping with the provisions of Ecuador’s constitution and international standards for freedom of expression.