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Government broadcasts and state media reports add to smear campaign against Fundamedios

This statement was originally published on fundamedios.org on 15 September 2015.

On Tuesday 15 September 2015, several mandatory broadcasts ordered by the Communications Secretariat (Secom) interrupted the regular programming of Ecuadorian radio stations to discredit the work of Fundamedios. The government material even disseminated the exact physical address of the organization.

At different times, the show titled “Desenmascarando”, which is broadcasted as a segment of State TV station Ecuador TV's news program, was transmitted via main radio stations for 11 minutes, as an informative “contribution” by Secom for the public and as part of a smear campaign that was initiated at the same time as the process to dissolve Fundamedios.

On the show, which was originally broadcast on 10 September, Fundamedios was accused, without any factual or legal arguments, of being funded by the CIA, sending information to the United States and having reached an “internal loss of prestige”.

It was stated that the dissolution of Fundamedios is due to its political activities, which have no relation to its original aim, citing as an example the alerts issued by the organization, questioning the fact that their dissemination of attacks on journalists allegedly fail to take into account those directed against the State operated media. This can be refuted by just accessing the website www.fundamedios.org.ec.

In addition to these mandatory "cadenas", since 10 September State media such as El Telégrafo, El Ciudadano and Agencia Andes have published biased articles against Fundamedios. An example of this are the articles titled: “Fundamedios' political actions violate its statutes”, published by El Telégrafo on 10 September; “Journalists' Federation supports legal action against Fundamedios”, of 11 September; “Guayas Journalists' Association supports actions initiated by Secom against Fundamedios”, by El Ciudadano, and “Journalists' Unions criticize Fundamedios for deviating from its statutory objectives and carrying out political actions”, by Andes, both on 13 September.

On 15 September, in El Ciudadano TV's interview program “Ecuador no para”, Fundamedios was also discredited with the repetition of Secom's affirmation that the organization participates in politics. The program's host, journalist and Secom's former undersecretary, Marco Antonio Bravo, interviewed state official Patricio Barriga, president of the Council for the Regulation and Development of Information and Communication (Cordicom), and academics Francisco Sierra, director general of the International Center for Higher Communication Studies for Latin America (Ciespal), and Omar Ospina, who often appears as an interviewee in the cadenas created by Secom. The content of this program was also reproduced on the website of Agencia Andes, in the article titled “Communication experts agree that Fundamedios acted politically”.

Moreover, through the social networking platform Somos +, allied to the government of President Correa, a change.org campaign is being disseminated requesting support for Secom to dissolve Fundamedios. The campaign has been signed by the National Federation of Journalists (FENAPE) even though its president, Susana Piedra, has confirmed her support of Fundamedios and has reported that false leaders are using the name of the federation. The campaign is also a kind of response to the campaign launched by Fundamedios so that Fernando Alvarado, head of Secom, does not dissolve the Organization.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
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Case history


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