Four state entities will monitor the announcements. Citizen rights are maintained, such as rectification, reply and response, among others. The guarantee of citizens’ rights, the control of publicity and modifications with respect to the allocation of frequencies are part of the eighth axis of the proposed reforms to the Organic Law of Communication. It is about 13 articles of the project sent last May 21 to the National Assembly.
According to the proposal, it maintains substantial aspects of the current Law, such as the protection of rights with respect to content. In addition, the rights to rectification, reply and response are maintained, as well as the protection of personal communications, protection of the source, professional secrecy, among others.
Institutions such as the Ministry of Health, the Council for Regulation, Development and Promotion of Information (Cordicom), the Comptroller General of the State (CGE) and the Ministry of Telecommunications (Mintel) will have the mission of monitoring and controlling publicity in the media, according to the established functions.
Publicity and propaganda
If the project is accepted, Article 94 will establish that the Ministry of Health will prepare a list of products that cannot be advertised in the media “whose regular use (…) will affect the health of people”.
Also, the national health authority will control the advertising of food and health products. The Cordicom will regulate the advertising that is transmitted during the children’s programs. For Joaquin Gonzalez, representative of UNICEF in Ecuador, children cannot defend themselves and, therefore, state protection is necessary.
“It is necessary to have a comprehensive protection system that prevents violations of rights, and if they do occur, do not treat them in isolation but rather ensure the welfare of the child as a whole,” said González.
Regarding the investment in advertising and propaganda, public entities will prepare an annual report on the distribution of advertising expenses contracted in each medium and must be published on the website of the institution. If it were not published, “it will be cause for dismissal of the entity’s owner” and it will be the Comptroller’s Office that verifies compliance.
People who are already concessionaires of radio or television frequencies may compete to continue with their space or obtain a different one.
They will have an additional score of 20% of the total achieved, “in recognition of the experience and accumulated investment”. For nationalities there will be a direct award of frequency authorization and will be determined by the telecommunications authority. Private and community media will not be able to compete for the same frequency “in order to generate fair competition,” says Article 77.
This issue was questioned by Ana Acosta, from the El Churo community media. She said that in the national dialogues they requested that the requirements be differentiated and not contests. “It is a danger because at the time that the differentiation of competitions, some frequencies almost belong to the private and cannot be entered,” explained Acosta.
And she argued that the State could establish that the marginal frequencies, those that are far away, those of rural areas would be for the community, while those of major cities, where there is a greater audience, will be for private ones.
The Cordicom will review the communicational projects and award a score to each one. This will be sent to the telecommunications authority, to add the score. It will be the telecommunications authority which, after reviewing the score, declares the winner and performs the administrative procedures for the award and subscription of the frequency concession contract. For Apawki Castro, sent by Conaie to the Community for the Reforms organization, a fund should be created for community media and asked not to cancel the frequency contest process. “As Conaie we apply to the contest. We cannot pay for the broken plates of the adjudication process. ”
He also requested that the fair distribution of advertising be established in the three types of media. The head of the Secom, Andrés Michelena, stressed that rights are maintained as “prohibition of prior censorship; rectification and replication; regulation of discriminatory content; classification of audiences and slots; dissemination of national music content. ” (I)