Ecuador shuts down free-speech organization

Ecuador's Secretary of Communications (Secom) on Sept. 8 officially informed the free-speech advocacy organization Fundamedios that it is being dissolved for promoting "indisputably political" material, in violation of the country's Unified Information Regulatory System for Social Organizations (RUOS). The case rests on Fundamedios linking on its Twitter feed to material critical of President Rafael Correa and his government—especially from the blogs and The organization has 10 days to appeal, but Fundamedios director César Ricaurte said he has little faith in the process, calling the announcement "A chronicle of a death foretold."

"Not content with persecuting, harassing, fining, and verbally abusing critics in the privately owned press, the Ecuadoran government is now threatening to dissolve the leading press freedom organization," said Carlos Lauría, Americas director of the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York. "We urge Ecuadoran authorities to immediately withdraw this politically motivated procedure and allow Fundamedios to continue its work without any government interference."

Fundamedios—the Andean Foundation for the Observation and Study of the Media—was founded in 2007 as a support platform for journalists. It has since aggressively monitored and reported on threats to freedom of speech, press, and association in Ecuador. (InfoBae, Argentina, Miami Herald, CPJ, PanAm Post, Sept. 9; El Universo, Guayaquil, Sept. 8)