Filmmakers and producers highlight that during the 5 years of life of the Communication Law, the stipulated was simply a good intention. They say that it has been beneficial for the creation of advertising, but not for the production of cinematographic works, because the regulations were badly raised from the beginning.
Five years of validity of the Organic Law of Communication (LOC) have not allowed a marked development for the production of audiovisual products (documentaries and fiction material) in the country. This is how producers of independent audiovisual material coincide, pointing out that what was written in this legal framework simply remained a good intention.
For Jan Paul Peter Vandierendonck, director of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Creation (ICCA), the LOC has only been beneficial for the production of advertising, but for the production of cinematographic works it has not worked. “Because, honestly, the law was wrong from the start.”
He even assured that the number of film products presented before and after the existence of the LOC has not changed. “This law has not changed anything at all for the creative audiovisual sector, there is no difference in before and after figures. Except for the budget of the Cinema Council, which has varied according to the price of oil.”
The average fulfillment of what is established in this article, according to Alfredo Mora, director of the Festival Encuentros del Otro Cine (EDOC), is the acquisition of independent film material by television channels, as established by law.
He said that there are two important aspects with respect to the audiovisual that the LOC has and that have not been fulfilled in their entirety. “On the one hand there is the requirement to acquire material to the independent national production. This means, outside of (the programs) television channels and cable operators, and that each of these channels makes a purchase of rights to two feature films a year “.
He indicated that this has not been fulfilled because within the regulation, the fine was lower than what the law required. These percentages, for the calculation of the amounts that will be destined for the acquisition of independent audiovisuals, are established in article 102 of the LOC.
There it is indicated that the open television and audio and video subscription systems will allocate a value not less than 2% or 5% of the amounts billed and received by the medium or system, and that had declared in the fiscal year of the previous year.
This, depending on the population resident in the coverage area of the medium. Mora considered that, for this to be fulfilled, it must be established which agency will be competent. “Recall that one of the proposed reforms from the Executive is the elimination of the Superintendence of Information and Communication (Supercom).”
In the case of public media, this percentage that is included in the regulations will be calculated in relation to your budget. “We believe that these administrative activities should fall on someone, if that is going to fall on the Council for Regulation and Development of Information and Communication (Cordicom) or if it is at the Conatel (today called Arcotel). We do not know”.
This is an important administrative activity, since these issues would help the Ecuadorian audiovisual, in a certain way, be financed. “For this, they must have a protection within an entity, they cannot be left alone in ambiguity.”
Producers say that there was no support to acquire national production and comply with the LOC Marcela Camacho, documentary filmmaker, said that two years ago he produced an independent audiovisual product called El 49. The work presents the moments lived during the Ambato earthquake (Tungurahua) in 1949.
He regretted that when seeking support in the television channels, the audiovisual was not accepted. “I applied for a television channel, and the buts were that, as it lasts 40 minutes, they told me that that time is not handled in the channel.
Otherwise, they tell you unreal things. ” “So, if you do not get screened at the cinema because it’s expensive and it’s not easy to access the cinema chains, television is our second option to show our work and recover the investment made, but there is no such because they do not receive our materials”, explained Camacho.
For Vinicio Condor, representative of the Documentary Association of Ecuador (ADEC), this situation has been a constant during the time the law is in effect. He agreed that the media were not interested in acquiring independent national production. “They (the media), to the end, what they tell you is that they are not interested or that they do not have money or they invent any type of excuse.
That is what has been happening. ” He indicated that this is easy to confirm: “On television screens there is no Ecuadorian production, this is not true”. Cóndor added that this legal article has lacked sufficient guarantees for the media to comply with the determined.
“The only thing we ask is that the media be enforced what the norm stipulates.” The Communication Law, in its article 102, establishes that, in order to promote national production and independent national production, the open television media and subscription audio and video systems will acquire the rights annually and will exhibit at least two production feature films.
However, and according to the testimonies gathered by the public media, this is a section of the LOC that was not fulfilled, as in the spirit established by the regulations. Non-compliance occurs despite the fact that the law determines a fine of 10 unified basic salaries.
These amounts of the fines had to be destined to the Film Fund, managed by the Film Institute. According to the director of the Festival Encuentros del Otro Cine, Alfredo Mora, it is unknown if that will happen. “That money that the Supercom raised is not known if it will go or not to the Film Institute.
For example, there is a significant amount that could be part of the development fund. ” This situation shows, according to Pablo Mogrovejo, a filmmaker and member of the Documentary Association of Ecuador (ADEC), that the LOC that saw the light five years ago, must have changes without altering the sections that generated growth of the audiovisual sector in the country.
“Summing up the law, it has been complied with, and half fulfilled. The part that was fulfilled has had an extraordinary effect for the audiovisual sector and the independent national production sector. But there is another half of the law that, instead of following the spirit of having an independent national creation space, was resolved by the payment of fines.”
Hence, Mogrovejo said that the payment of fines will not achieve the effect of knowledge transfer, technology transfer and job creation. The elimination of the Supercom also worries Mogrovejo, since, by eliminating the agency, for the moment it is not clear who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the LOC. He believes that if there is no minimum administrative institutionality, what can happen is that the entire subject of communication is prosecuted.
That is to say that for the payment of a fine, for the fulfillment of a point within the regulation, it must be several years in court or in the Ombudsman’s Office itself, to achieve compliance with the Organic Law of Communication. Therefore, he stressed that they are expectant of the reforms that are analyzed to the Law of Communication in the Legislative.
At the moment, the Commission of Collective Rights of the National Assembly debates the changes to several articles of the regulation, among them, those that comprise of the Section VI, referring to the National Production.
The independent producers agree that the LOC did not generate an increase in Ecuadorian cinema. However, they say that advertising, another issue linked to national production, has been the most favored.
In that sense, there has been a significant investment in equipment and technology to create audiovisual products with export quality. This issue will be addressed by the public media next Monday. From several sources, it will be analyzed if the LOC promoted the growth of this part of the audiovisual products.
Birth of the regulations
The proposal to have a Communication Law derived from the 2008 Constitution and from the popular consultation of 2011, during the first term of the Rafael Correa government.
Intent of the Law
The legal framework was created with the intention of regulating the dissemination of content in the media, and establish criteria for subsequent responsibility of journalists.
It took 3 years and 8 months for the Organic Law of Communication (LOC) was approved in the second and final debate in the National Assembly. The articles were approved with 107 affirmative votes and 20 negative.
The current Organic Communication Law is divided into 7 titles, 119 articles, 24 transitory provisions, 6 amendments, 2 repeals and a final provision. Its regulations The Regulation of the Organic Law of Communication contains 89 articles and 4 transitory provisions. Entered into force on January 20, 2014 and contains the guidelines for applying the regulations. It replaced the 1975 law.
The current Communication Law, whose debate for its birth began in 2009, replaced the Law on Broadcasting and Television, in force since April 18, 1975, during the military dictatorship of General Guillermo Rodríguez Lara. (I)