Ecuador: Government Orders NGO Fundamedios Closed
In response to Ecuador’s Secretary of Communications (SECOM) order to close the non-governmental organization Fundamedios, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The charges against Fundamedios are politically motivated and glaring examples of the government’s lack of respect for freedom of speech,” said Carlos Ponce, program director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The government has long harassed Fundamedios, a leading civil society organization dedicated to promoting freedom of expression. The decision to force its closure by a dubious administrative procedure is the latest example of this administration's intolerance of dissent.”
SECOM notified La Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de los Medios (Fundamedios) September 8 that it would begin the process of dissolving the organization, though it is legally registered. The official notification accuses Fundamedios of disseminating messages with "indisputably political" leanings, allegedly in contradiction with its organizational by-laws and Ecuadorian law governing the role of civic organizations with a social purpose.
Fundamedios staff believes the government was responding to blog posts originally published elsewhere and reposted by Fundamedios. Fundamedios has 10 days to present evidence in its defense.
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.