A recent decision by a local court to invalidate President Rafael Correa’s pardon of Ecuadorean journalists Juan Carlos Calderon and Cristian Zurita for their book, El Gran Hermano, is another blow to press freedom in Ecuador. The court ruled that the pardon is not an admissible legal procedure in civil matters. Freedom House calls on the government to withdraw the lawsuit, which is the only legal way to end the trial. With the ruling and the resumption of the trial, the two journalists will likely face a $2 million dollar fine.
Senator Robert Menendez expressed concern with the state of media freedom in Latin America at a panel hosted by Freedom House, and reiterated his concerns at a press conference with Senator Marco Rubio.
Freedom House is very concerned that an article published on March 4, 2012 in El Ciudadano misrepresented Freedom House’s position on freedom of expression in Ecuador. The article included inaccurate facts about a meeting between representatives of the Ecuadorean government and Freedom House; Freedom House welcomes the Ecuadorean government’s move to retract the article.
In less than five years since taking office, President Rafael Correa has turned Ecuador into one of the more restrictive countries for freedom of expression in Latin America and taken steps to assault freedom of association.