Wed | May 22, 2019

Ecuador president reiterates commitment to press freedom

Published:Friday | February 22, 2019 | 12:19 AM
From left: Ecuador Vice-President Otto Sonnenholzner and President Lenín Moreno show off the signed declaration with IAPA President Maria Elvira Dominguez and IAPA Executive Director Ricardo Trotti on Wednesday.

Quito:

Ecuador President Lenín Moreno on Wednesday signed the Chapultepec Declaration in the presence of a delegation from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and special guests.

IAPA President María Elvira Domínguez, editor of El País newspaper in Cali, Colombia, led the delegation and was accompanied by former presidents Matt Sanders, from the United States, and Jaime Mantilla, from Ecuador, by members of the organisation in the country, and by Executive Director Ricardo Trotti.

“Today, we have a different Ecuador, with an open, tolerant and democratic government as you envisioned it when you took office in 2017,” said Domínguez in her speech, adding that since then, “your government has made a commitment to respect freedom of the press and expression, to tolerate criticism and dissent, and to end the premeditated persecution of the media and journalists. A commitment that you fulfilled.”

The IAPA president congratulated Moreno on the reforms to the Organic Law of Communication, although she warned that it still has several articles, among them the one that establishes that information is a public service, which “contravene the values of international conventions”.

In his speech, President Moreno said: “This is a really important day for the country, as we will bear witness to our conviction and deep respect for freedom. Simply put, for freedom ... for the press and expression can only be called such, if they are free. If the press is not free, it should be called a megaphone, a loudspeaker, or a puppet... but never the press.

“The adhesion of Ecuador to the maximum representation of freedom of the press, which is the Declaration of Chapultepec, reiterates my commitment to achieve a fairer society for all,” said the President, adding that “today is also a great day, a beautiful coincidence, since the reform of the Communication Law has just been published.

Among other state authorities present at the event, held at the Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man) north of Quito, were Vice-President Otto Sonnenholzner, as well as journalists, media directors and representatives of the Ecuadorian Association of Newspaper Editors (AEDEP).

The Chapultepec Declaration is a 10-article statement of principles on freedom of expression and of the press. It has been signed by more than 70 heads of state of the Americas.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the defence and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.