The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ecuador says TV station seizure won't compromise press freedom

SignOnSanDiego, 9 July 2008
QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuador's government promised Wednesday to protect press freedoms despite including three television stations among nearly 200 businesses seized to collect debts from a bank collapse.

But it also moved to revoke concessions on 229 other frequencies.

“In no way does the government intent to control or interfere with freedom of the press,” said Economy Minister Wilma Salgado, whose department oversaw the seizure of properties allegedly linked to the Isaias family.

Salgado told Colombia's Caracol Radio that the government plans to sell the stations, as well as the other businesses, to raise money for depositors who lost money in the collapse of the Filanbanco bank once controlled by William and Roberto Isaias, who fled to the United States and who face embezzlement charges in Ecuador.

TC Television, TC Noticias, Gamavision and TC Radio were confiscated on Tuesday by a branch of the Economy Ministry dedicated to recovering assets lost by depositors in the financial crisis of the late 1990s.

The TV stations are run by relatives of the fugitive bankers.

Meanwhile, the government's broadcast regulator announced Wednsday it was moving to revoke 229 of the 1,200 television and radio concessions in the country – an action it said was unrelated to the Isaias case.

The regulatory commission president, Jorge Yunda, said the revocations were due to irregularities such as lapsed payments or invalid contracts. He did not say which stations were affected or when the action would take effect.

Klever Chica, a representative of the Ecuadorean Broadcasting Association, insisted that audits of the concessions “have to be totally objective, without favoritism ... or political motives.”

The radio and television stations seized Tuesday because of their alleged link to the fugitive bankers were not particularly critical of leftist President Rafael Correa's administration, but the action alarmed some broadcaster associations and government opponents.

The daily newspaper El Universo suggested in an editorial on Wednesday that the government wants to control the news media prior to a constitutional referendum in September. The Uruguay-based International Association of Broadcasting said the measure “severely affects freedom of expression.”

But Ecuador's National Journalists Federation bluntly disputed that. It said the station takeover involved “a strictly financial, business and legal conflict and has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”

Salgado said that the business owners – many of whom have denied financial links to the fugitive bankers – can challenge the seizures in court.

No comments:

Post a Comment