Re: “Ecuador respects and promotes the freedom of speech”

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Source: El Telégrafo

Dear Editor,

While your May 21st article, “Ecuador respects and promotes the freedom of speech,” notes some of Chancellor Patiño’s admirable ideas regarding civil rights in Ecuador, it woefully ignores the state-imposed limits on free speech which have been so well documented by the international media and the committee work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The article asserts that there has not been a single journalist attacked by the Ecuadorian state in recent years. Completely unaddressed, however, are President Correa’s hectoring lawsuits against journalists from El Universo and the authors of El Gran Hermano, both of which arguably represent attacks on journalists. The Washington Post has labeled the case against El Universo “the most comprehensive and ruthless assault on free media underway in the Western Hemisphere.” Although Correa ultimately pardoned the journalists, the trial itself constituted a costly assault on Emilio Palacio and the Perez brothers, as did the case against the authors of El Gran Hermano. Additionally, the Law of Communication prohibits journalists from publishing anything in favor of or against presidential candidates—a direct violation of Ecuadorian constitutional protections and commitments.

Very much like the 2008 Ecuadorian Constitution, your article cites the Chancellor’s eloquent affirmations of civil rights in word, but not in action.

Ellicott Dandy
Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs