Ecuador's new communications superintendent promises "equal conditions" with media law

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ecuador's new communications and information superintendent, Carlos Ochoa, who was appointed by the country's national assembly on October 15, has promised "equal conditions" for all sectors of society under the recently passed media law.

"Everyone should be able to express their point of view under equal conditions, with equal opportunities," he said in his inaugural speech.

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Broadcasting spectrum is currently largely concentrated among private entities, and the recently passed media law establishes a framework to divide spectrum equally between public, private and community media.

It also includes regulations regarding national content and measures related to what the government calls "media lynching," in which it is forbidden to disseminate information with the aim of discrediting individuals or legal entities.

The government has hailed the law as the final blow being given to the monopoly and concentration of media in a few hands.

"Never again will the owner of a media organization be able to order for someone to be thrown out who was voted for by the majority as constitutional president of this country," Ochoa said.

However, a range of press freedom organizations have criticized the legislation, saying that it poses a serious and immediate threat to independent journalism, and is an attempt to silence government critics.

The media law is "a law which puts journalists, media and recipients under equal conditions," according to Ochoa. It prohibits media lynching and prior censorship, and guarantees freedom of information.

"I have sufficient experience and knowledge to act firmly in favor of society's rights, not against the media, in favor of information, not of its censorship, he said.

Ochoa is an Ecuadorian journalist who has worked for 28 years in both public and private print media, radio and television.