Andrés Michelena points out that the Government is waiting for the reports from the Comptroller’s Office so that those responsible are identified and legal actions are followed regarding the irregularities found in the seized and public media. He announces that the communication restructuring in the Executive is progressing and that the closing of the channel, the portal and the newspaper El Ciudadano are a fact. It refers the points even without agreement in the proposal of reform to the Organic Law of Communication
When will the consultation be sent to the Inter-American Human Rights System on whether or not the communication is a public service?
The advisory opinion has not yet been sent, the proposal is being worked on … a maximum of fifteen days (we will send it) … We do not know how long it will take for the Inter-American Court.
What happened to your idea of making a law only for public media?
In the reform we propose the conceptualization of all media. The public media that are classified in two: media to the citizen service (Ecuador TV, Public Radio and El Telégrafo) and institutional media. If it is approved, the regulation is worked … we seek to give it financial independence so that they have editorial independence … maybe a rate (they analyze experiences in other countries).
And the institutional means of the Government …
I have already signed the agreement to close the channel El Ciudadano TV, this week should be closed next to the portal and the newspaper. It represented a budget of about $ 8 million per year (managed by the Undersecretariat of Institutional Media). The only thing we will not close is the radio.
What would be the procedure to annul the administrative acts of the Supercom if rights were violated?
If rights were violated and there was no support, there are repetition processes, where the highest authority, in this case, Mr. (Carlos) Ochoa, should be responsible for all their actions … even an article was invented in a law that He printed and was sanctioned eleven times with that.
But about the other sanctions they can say: we rely on the law …
But a law that was violating rights.
Who is responsible there: who applied it, who approved or who proposed the law?
The one that applies it.
Should’ve he refused to apply it?
The debate is complex because they are universal rights that the law violated … that’s why the president has chosen three lawyers to go to the Supercom. The 705 penalties are going to be analyzed by that superintendent.
There are documents in which irregularities are already established regarding Fernando Alvarado in TC Televisión (internal audit) and what happened with Gamavisión in the Sabatinas. In this case would Rafael Correa be implicated?
Politically, Rafael Correa is responsible for this. There is a prior report from the Comptroller’s Office … we expect the final report and, later, if the Comptroller does not officially file a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office, the General Manager of Public Media should go to the Prosecutor’s Office. In this case, they are close to $ 8 or $ 10 million in Gamavisión on sabatinas and, in the case of TC Televisión, $ 5 million (the internal audit is already in the Comptroller’s Office). In the case of Ecuador TV … if I’m not mistaken, it’s $ 4.5 million.
If Correa is politically responsible, does that imply that there would be no way to sanction him?
Everything would depend on the final report of the Comptroller.
Do you think there will be votes for the reform, especially to eliminate the Supercom?
I am an optimist and I think so. The suppression of the Supercom has had almost 90% of coincidence with all the banks. There are three issues that still do not match one hundred percent: the representation of the media in the Cordicom … the issue of the Ombudsman’s Office is not clear to them and … the cultural issue, there are means that do not agree the one-for-one system.
About the seized media, what is the legal framework that must be resolved through the law in order to sell them?
He always got scared that because of the Isaias issue you could not sell the channels … That was always the excuse of Mr. Correa’s ten years … It’s not real, because there is a legal process that is in international courts and a consultation should simply be done, it is not complex. It was an excuse not to sell and the only thing that was done is to break and abuse these means of communication … In the reform proposal foreign investment is allowed in all media, all within the framework of a process of control and regulation so that monopolies do not exist either. (I)
“If rights were violated and there was no support, there are repetition processes, where the highest authority, in this case, Mr. (Carlos) Ochoa, should be responsible ..”Andrés Michelena, Head of Secom.