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 threatens to shut down more broadcasters

QUITO, July 9 (Reuters) - Ecuador on Wednesday threatened to kick scores of radio and television stations off the air, fueling concerns over media freedoms one day after President Rafael Correa's leftist government seized two TV networks.

The media companies under investigation include television stations that are critical of Correa's administration.

The government said it could withdraw 229 broadcast licenses over irregularities it believes were committed, unless the broadcasters show they have complied with their contracts and not missed payments.

"We have started the process of revoking the frequencies of 229 radio, television and cable operators so far," the head of the state-run National Council of Radio and Television, Jorge Yunda, said.

Another 354 broadcast licenses are under review, he said.

Correa sent police on Tuesday to seize two television stations owned by a large business group, knocking their normal programming off the air and appointing new news editors.

In a decade-old debt dispute, authorities also seized nearly 200 other businesses ranging from retail to insurance firms owned by the powerful Isais group.

Yunda denied the government was targeting opposition media, noting some stations under investigation were pro-government.

Tuesday's seizure of TC Television and Gamavision drew international criticism of intolerance.

"We are concerned by allegations that the government is using the cover of a criminal case to silence private broadcasters," said the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Some Ecuadoreans worry that Correa could follow the example of his leftist ally, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who shut down the last opposition TV station by refusing to renew its license.

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