Terrible Press Situation in Ecuador

I’ve been following the recent press developments in Ecuador with quite a bit of interest. One of my students and I are working on a research paper exploring the significant deterioration of press freedoms that has occurred under President Rafael Correa.

His shenanigans are gaining attention worldwide. Just today, news broke that Ecuador’s highest court upheld a ridiculously punitive libel conviction against El Universo, one of the country’s largest daily newspapers. Correa won a $40 million libel suit against it. Its three owners and editor were also sentenced to three years in prison.

Correa’s government has systematically intimidated and bullied those press outlets who dare criticize him, and this libel conviction is just the latest example. I have little sympathy for any public figure — particularly the president of a country — who is so weak of character that he or she cannot endure legitimate criticism without persecuting the press.

As a university professor, I’m particularly incensed that Correa holds a Ph.D. from an American university and even taught in higher ed in Quito before assuming elected office. The most educated members of society have a responsibility to be nation builders, and Correa is failing in that category.

It’s unfortunate to see my professional journalism colleagues in Ecuador endure such difficult times, but I hope it provides just a little solace to know that there are others worldwide who are paying close attention to their troubles.

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