Thursday 23.8.2018 in Latest Developments in Ecuador Country Page
After gathering in an Assembly o 26th June 2018, the indigenous community Kichwa in Santa Clara, Pastanza province, rejected the presence of the hydroelectric corporation Piatua GENEFRAN in their ancestral lands. The Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de Ecuador or CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) issued a statement in support of the community and requested the government to stop granting licenses to hydroelectric, oil or mining projects that affect the lives of indigenous populations. The organisation also called on the government to:
"[S]top criminalizing and persecuting land defenders and defenders of collective rights, the environment and human rights."
In a positive development, Ecuador has officially become a member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The OGP is an international initiative of 69 countries which develop action plans to improve government policies and administrative management with higher levels of response to citizens under the principles of transparency, citizens’ participation and accountability.
As previously reported in the Monitor, in April 2018 the Municipality of Quito had issued a by-law with the objective of implementing open government policies at the local level based on transparency, open data, accountability and citizen participation.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the administration of President Lenin Moreno "steers Ecuador away from ex-president Rafael Correa's media repression". Although some improvements have been made, the report stated that "journalists remain wary" until Moreno fulfills his promises to amend the Organic Communications Act.
The General Assembly of Ecuador received seven proposals to reform the Organic Communication Act in force since 2013. Political parties Creando Oportunidades (CREO) and Partido Social Cristiano, the government through the Communication Secretariat and civil society Community Radios Movement submitted different proposals. The majority of the modifications recommended the elimination of the controlling entity Communications Superintendence (SUPERCOM), which was tasked with ensuring compliance with the law. The institution has the power to "open investigations into outlets or individual journalists and impose measures including fines, publication of “corrections,” and public apologies—a power it regularly used to target critical journalism".
In response to a government invitation, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, issued some recommendations regarding the proposed modifications to the Organic Communication Law. In his submission, the Rapporteur emphasises the importance of including in the law the principles and standards of freedom of expression established under international law as well as the elimination of the SUPERCOM.