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Ecuador's communications secretariat reverses decision to shut down Fundamedios

Press conference on 26 September after Fundamedios received notification of SECOM's decision
Press conference on 26 September after Fundamedios received notification of SECOM's decision

Fundamedios

This statement was originally published on fundamedios.org on 28 September 2015.

On Friday, September 25, the National Communications Secretariat (SECOM) resolved to put on hold the dissolution process of Fundamedios as the “last warning” for the organization to respect the statute on the “prohibition of exercises of political nature...affecting the prestige of Ecuador.” Additionally, in the document, SECOM threatens to initiate legal action against Fundamedios because of a letter written by Fundamedios asking for evidence of their political activity. According to SECOM, the letter was “offensive and insulting to public authority and state institutions” and contains “phrases and expressions that denote ill will towards state institutions and public servants.” In the resolution, SECOM even mentions an “abuse of the right to defense.”

During a press conference, César Ricaurte, executive director of Fundamedios, welcomed SECOM's decision. He commented that it was "a victory for the country, for human rights and for democracy in Ecuador." And that it is “good news that they did not proceed with the abusive and pretentious closing of Fundamedios". Additionally, he called the filing of the process of dissolution “political.”

On the same day on SECOM's resolution, the National Communications Secretary, Fernando Alvarado, referred to the subject on his personal blog. There, he acknowledges having a very bad impression of Fundamedios and says, “I think that they clearly betray the principles and values that an NGO should seek to defend, such as human rights and freedom of speech and press (…) the most easy way to resolve my own dilemma would have been to dissolve them on the grounds of due process” but I decided to “give them another opportunity” so that the organization could continue functioning.

This past September 8, 2015, SECOM notified Fundamedios of the decision to initiate the process of dissolution of the organization for divulging and promoting content on independent opinion blogs “Estadodepropaganda.com” and “SentidoComunEcuador.com” written by journalists Roberto Aguilar and José Hernández, respectively. According to SECOM, “Fundamedios has spread messages, alerts and essays which have had indisputable political overtones therefore making this organization's political position very clear while their focus should be instead on social communication and journalism".

Many spoke out in protest of the process of dissolution, including five human rights rapporteurs, three from the UN and two from the OAS, more than 44 national and international human rights organizations more than 100 academics and journalists from different countries and 1,782 people from various nationalities who signed the petition in defense of the NGO on the Change.org website.

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