Ecuador’s national legislature has adopted new Communications Law that restricts freedom of the press and limit the ability of independent media.
Reports say the new law consists of provisions that threaten freedom of the press which include prohibition of “media lynching.” However, Ecuadorian legislators have expressed opposition of the law, saying it will allow the government to control media through its strict defined regulations.
US concerned with the new law
According to US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, the US government is is concerned by the Ecuadorian National Assembly’s passage last Friday of a Communications Law which resticts freedom of press.
Ms. Psaki explains that as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
She points out that the Inter-American Democratic Charter, signed by the United States, Ecuador, and 32 other countries in the hemisphere, establishes freedom of expression as an essential component of representative democracy.
“Active, independent, and responsible media is critical for informing the public.” – Ms. Psaki
Laws should not have suppressive effect on free speech in a democratic country
Ms. Psaki underlines that while it remains to be seen how the new Communications Law will be applied in practice, it is important in a democracy that laws not have a suppressive effect on free speech, narrow the space for fair and unbiased reporting, or lead to self-censorship by the independent media.
In solidarity with the Ecuadorian people and government, as well as with other governments and stakeholders in the region committed to freedom of expression, the US undelrines the importance of ensuring that the independent media is able to do its work without fear of reprisal or sanction.
“Respect for the fundamental freedoms of citizens including freedom of expression and of the press is critical in guaranteeing the vitality of this essential component of representative democracy.” – Ms. Psaki
Reports say there is a worrying deterioration of media freedom in Ecuador and was downgraded to the Not Free category.