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Thursday 19 November 2009

Patricia Covarrubia

Ecuador’s Communication Law to repress the media

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Last Monday the National Assembly of Ecuador debated the ‘Communication Law’ which regulates the media in the country (click here for article). More than 60% of the law was approved and now waits to be discussed and passed by the legislative. The Law seeks to control the content of the media and its activities. It imposes for example that all radio, TV stations, newspaper and among others, need to register its data and ethic code before a Communication Institute which will be created for that effect. The Institute will be in charge of monitoring the media.

Press freedom appears to be the latest tendency of several Latin America countries. For instance, the Audiovisual Services Law, in Argentina and the proposed Media Law in El Salvador. I cannot leave outside Venezuela where the government has closed 34 radio stations and one TV station by applying the Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA)has also mentioned the situation in Cuba. It referred to the controlling and censoring of Internet. Last month for example, Yoani Sanchez, a Cuban blogger who criticises the government, was not allowed to go to New York to receive a prize awarded by the University of Columbia for her journalism (see press release here) - Oh! I better behave or my president will not allow me to go and visit my family.

Without a doubt, the most serious concern is the human rights, namely, freedom of expression. However, what is interest to blog is that this affects enormously the industry of copyright and it will indeed weaken it. Clearly, there is a conflict between copyright and freedom of expression because authors are stop from expressing information in the form of the literary work which is protected by copyright. This is already happening in Venezuela. This week the country celebrates a ‘Book Fair’, where the Bolivian writer Verónica Ormachea Gutiérrez was not allow to present her book due to its content. She writes in her book about the idealism of Evo Morales ( Bolivia's president) and Hugo Chávez (Venezuelan's president) and consider them as being dictators (press release here).

Click here for the full report (by the IAPA) regarding press freedom here.

Patricia Covarrubia

Patricia Covarrubia