Universal Periodic Review: Ecuador must end harsh treatment of journalists
|Publication Date||21 May 2012|
|Cite as||Article 19, Universal Periodic Review: Ecuador must end harsh treatment of journalists, 21 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fbcbce22.html [accessed 25 July 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Ecuador's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) by the Human Rights Council will take place on 21 May 2012. ARTICLE 19 urges member states delegations to use the opportunity of the UPR to raise concerns about violations of the right to freedom of expression in the country and to make recommendations to urgently address them.
ARTICLE 19 urges the delegations to raise the following issues, highlighted in a report produced for the UPR:
- Legislation that hampers illegitimately access to information and freedom of expression, such as desacto legislation and archaic legislation to monitor broadcasting,
- Government excessive regulation of the media,
- An increasing spate of violence against journalists and human rights defenders.
ARTICLE 19' submission highlights the use of criminal defamation provisions to criminalise freedom of the press, and inhibit the space for free expression and debates. Public officials, including the President, have organised what amounts to public campaigns openly criticising the media, describing them as 'ignorant'. 'liars' and 'unethical'.
ARTICLE 19 also urges delegations of UN member states to critically evaluate the Ecuador government's role in promoting a safer environment for journalists and activists in the country. Ecuador has experienced an unprecedented number of cases of attacks against journalists and human rights defenders, making of Ecuador one of the most dangerous countries in South America for the press. The number of attacks against journalists has spiralled from 22 in 2008 to 212 in 2010 while environmental NGOs and activists have received death threats.
ARTICLE 19 urge delegations to recommend the following actions to the Government of Ecuador:
- Undertake a comprehensive review of legislation relating to freedom of expression and media freedom and bring it in line with international free expression standards
- Create an enabling environment for media and civil society and refrain from restricting their freedom to operate independently and freely
- Ensure editorial and financial independence of broadcast media
- Restrict the use of cadenas to providing information at times of emergency, and amend broadcasting laws to restrict opportunities for interference in media programming
- Establish an independent regulatory body for broadcasting, free from political and commercial interference
- Refrain from vilifying media operators, journalists and activists for expressing critical opinion, and from influencing media content through advertising boycotts
- Abolish criminal defamation provisions and desacato laws
- Cease using anti-terrorism laws to infringe the right to protest
- Introduce a freedom of information framework that meets international standards and ensure its thorough implementation.