Cartoonist Becomes Latest Victim of Ecuador’s Harassment of Critics

Washington

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In response to Ecuadorian cartoonist Xavier Bonilla (“Bonil”) being summoned for a hearing before the Superintendent of Communications on February 9, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The ludicrous allegations against Bonil are the latest example of the Ecuadorian government’s ongoing effort to stifle the country’s independent media,” said Carlos Ponce, director of Latin America programs at Freedom House. “Since 2008, President Rafael Correa has used a variety of tactics to punish journalists and media outlets that publish opinions he disagrees with. Freedom House reiterates its call for the Ecuadorian government to respect the fundamental right to freedom of expression and end its politically motivated persecution of journalists like Bonil.”

Background: 
The February 9 hearing marks the second time that Bonil has been brought before the Superintendent of Communications, a government body created in 2013 under the Communications Law.  Since the law came into force, the agency has brought sanctions against media outlets and journalists in more than 100 cases, demanding the “correction” of stories, publication of apologies, or the payment of hefty fines, among other penalties.

Ecuador is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2014, and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2014.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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