Secretaría Nacional de Comunicacíon
San Salvador E6-49 y Eloy Alfaro
Código Postal: 170516 / Quito - Ecuador
15 September 2015
Dear Mr. Alvarado,
Members of the IFEX-ALC network, an alliance of 19 organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, is extremely concerned about the decision of the Ecuadorian government's Communications Secretariat (Secom) to begin a process of dissolving Fundamedios, an integral member of our alliance.
For members of the IFEX-ALC, the Secom decision further affects the free expression landscape in Ecuador and threatens the right of society to be informed. Fundamedios is the only organisation that monitors attacks and threats on the media and defends the right to freedom of expression in Ecuador. It is an organization whose work benefits all Ecuadorians and their right to express themselves freely.
IFEX-ALC represents a diversity of members in many countries that are facing various problems and scenarios. In Mexico, people find it hard to get information from the government, for example, about the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa; in Venezuela, opposition voices are being silenced ahead of elections; and in Honduras violence against the press continues to be the biggest threat to free expression. IFEX-ALC, as an alliance, discusses and analyzes these topics. Fundamedios, as an active and committed member, contributes significantly to this work.
At a time when freedom of expression is under threat in a large number of the countries in the region, the eventual loss of Fundamedios' voice- something we hope will not come to pass- would be detrimental to the work of the IFEX-ALC alliance, as well as the larger civil society movement in the region working to combat attacks and threats against the right to freedom of expression.
Considering that public debate is a fundamental characteristic for any democracy, it should not only be allowed, but also desired that there be different opinions and visions of what takes place. Closing an organisation that defends freedom of expression would be a decision contrary to international standards of human rights that would move away from the democratic ideal and closer to authoritarianism.
We hope that you take into consideration the impact of this type of decision and we continue to hope that Ecuador will return to a place where controversy and debate are appreciated, rather than silenced by state decisions.
Association for Civil Rights
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública
Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala - CERIGUA
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social
Foro de Periodismo Argentino
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
National Press Association