In a Ceremony for their 66th General Convention in Mérida, Mexico, the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) criticized the fact that the Ecuadorian Media was forced to suspend their transmission and broadcast the Government Channel Programming on an “continously and without interruptions of any kind”.
The General Convention, which started on Friday and will end this Tuesday with an especial resolution for what happened in Ecuador, will declare 2011 as the Year of Freedom of Expression in the Continent and will choose the New President of the Association. The Convention will also analyze the situations of other countries such as Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela. In the Ceremony, there are several media representatives from many countries all over the Continent. Presidents from Mexico and Colombia, Felipe Calderón and Juan Manuel Santos were also invited to the Convention.
Important Directors from Ecuadorian Media such as Marco Arauz, Assistant Manager from Diario El Comercio and Jaime Mantilla Anderson, President of AEDEP, both agree on their reports that the Association had a negative response regarding the Government’s approach on the Press on September 30th.
“That day, the Government forced the citizens to have one version of the facts by giving the order to radio and television stations to link to their Official Broadcast. This Broadcast started at 13h23 and ended by 20h00, when the stations decided to broadcast the work of their own reporters who were there at the Police Hospital, where Correa was as well. Then, the rescue of the President was broadcasted live and that footage was used by the State for the Network” said Mantilla in dialogues with Sonorama Network. He also added that they fear the Government could accelerate the proccess to pass the Media Act, which is currently suspended. “Foreign Ministry Ricardo Patiño has said that, unfortunately, the Government has no control over all media, which is suspicious that the Law could be passed very soon” said Arauz.
The representative of El Comercio, on the other hand, said that “the threats to the press doubled since September 30th”. He also added that several citizens have been sent to prison illegally because of expressing disagreement with the Government thesis of Coup Attempt or because they said they supported the Police”.