• Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Ecuador's President Attacks US Over Press Freedom Critique

    Critics say Correa is creating a pro-government media system; Correa says there is a fundamental contradiction with corporate for-profit media involved in distributing public information -   May 21, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook

    No sports, no celebrities, no paid stories, no agendas. Pure integrity. - Steve Dustcircle
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


    Ecuador's President Attacks US Over Press Freedom CritiqueOSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: A new diplomatic impasse between Ecuador and the U.S. came to be on May 3, the day the world celebrates freedom of the press, when Adam Namm, U.S. ambassador in Quito, attended Ecuador's National Journalists Union's anniversary ceremony and demanded protection for the press in Ecuador.

    Many wonder, is this about Freedom of the Press or is it a rather political confrontation?

    Adam Namm, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service participated by writing on a wall already full of political cartoons, "The only security for all of us, is in free press" as Thomas Jefferson wrote to Lafayette in 1823.

    ADAM NAMM, U.S. AMBASSADOR IN ECUADOR (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): The duty of a government to protect free press is very important in a democracy.

    LEÓN: This act of support to the press by the U.S. ambassador was interpreted by Rafael Correa as a direct defy by Namm, this because just one day before, on May 2, Ecuador's president had declared his rejection of a public declaration by U.S. Department of State official Patrick Ventrella. Just a few days before, Ventrella had also called for protection for the Ecuadorian press: "We are a sovereign country, not a colony." He then continued, "We will in turn ask for the U.S. to protect Bradley Manning and Guantanamo's inmates."

    A few days later, on his weekly Radio and TV Show, Rafael Correa said:

    RAFAEL CORREA, ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Don't come lecturing us about liberty. You need a reality check. Don't act like a spoiled rude child. Here you will only find dignity and sovereignty. Here we haven't invaded anyone. Here we don't torture like in Guantanamo. Here we don't have drones killing alleged terrorist without any due trial, killing also the women and children of those supposed terrorists. So don't come lecturing us about life, law, dignity, or liberty. You don't have the moral right to do so.

    LEÓN: Ecuador's foreign secretary, Raul Patiño, met with the ambassador and issued a formal complaint.

    Adam Namm was supporting the members of Ecuador's Journalist Union who have been protesting for some time now, demanding a real "freedom of the press", accusing threats, public ridicule, libel lawsuits like the one against the El Universo newspaper. In that case, Emilio Palacio the journalist and the newspaper were fined $40 million for defaming the President by accusing him of "ordering the public forces to open fire on a live crowd" [snip] his rescue from a Police mutiny on September 30, 2010. However, despite these graves accusations never proven real, Rafael Correa later on pardoned the neswspaper and didn't collect the fine.


    JANETH HINOSTROZA, TV SHOW HOST, JOURNALIST (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Mr. President, Mr President. Would you comment in this information?

    CORREA: I wont be given any statements today. Please, ma'am, don't be rude and let me pass.

    Guard, please clear the way.

    PALACE GUARD: Excuse me, Mrs., please.


    LEÓN: The latest round in this fight, the one that ended with a diplomatic scuffle, somehow started with an alleged public persecution to three journalists particularly critic of the administration--Janet Hinostroza from Teleamazonas, Miguel Rivadeneira from Ecuador Radio, and Martin Pallares from El Comercio. Their names and many others' are mentioned in a report by Human Rights Watch about freedom of the press in Ecuador.

    We spoke with Martin Pallares, a political editorialist working in Ecuador's biggest private newspaper. Because of his criticism, President Correa is particularly at odds with Pallares.

    MARTIN PALLARES, SENIOR POLITICAL EDITOR, EL COMERCIO NEWSPAPER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I think freedom of press in Ecuador is gravely threatened by a system managed by the government. They have the objective to discredit the media, affect their credibility. And they also want to characterize the press like political adversaries and destabilization agents.

    LEÓN: Pallares agues that a vast apparatus, including two TV networks, many radios, newspapers, and even social media are used to repeat Correa's words, generating a climate of intimidation against some journalists working in private networks.

    PALLARES: Another aspect of this, and a very grave one, are the threats, especially coming from a government that has blurred the division of powers. The legislative and judicial powers are controlled by the executive, so now us journalists have to be careful of not saying anything that can be interpreted as moral damage to any public functionary, or it could end up in a lawsuit.

    LEÓN: The balance in the control over the media has definitely changed since Correa took power. Before him, out of seven private networks, five were owned by banks.

    After a law was passed to prevent banks from owning media networks, those TV networks where purchased by private business interest, and in some cases by the government, and now there are four public networks and only three private ones. None of these belong to a bank, but two of them remain in the opposition ranks.

    According to some journalists, like Orlando Perez from EL Telegrafo, a public newspaper, Ecuador is at its golden age when it comes to the press, not only because there are checks and balances, but also because there is a great number of public media companies.

    ORLANDO PEREZ, SENIOR EDITOR, EL TELEGRAFO NEWSPAPER (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): Freedom of press right now, under these circumstances and this political context, is experiencing perhaps its best time. I believe that this is a great opportunity to analyze the adequate use of mass communication.

    On the other hand, speaking more broadly about media, I think not only in Ecuador but all around the world there is a profound crisis of credibility for big media, whether it is because they represent international corporations and its economic interests, or maybe because they have entered a dynamic of confrontation with some governments. The surge of alternative means of information prevents now the monopoly big media used to have.

    LEÓN: President Correa has been active and outspoken in this occasional "battle" against big media groups.


    CORREA: I can say that a lot of other presidents complain in private about the excesses of the press. Some of them think is better to put up with it, because it'll be worse if you don't.

    I am ready to put up a fight because I believe that better that constructing roads, hospitals, and schools is to construct the truth. Lies had destroyed Latin America. People lie too much, from the press, the politicians, and on the street.

    I think one of the main problems around the world is that there are private networks in the communication business, for-profit business providing public information, which is very important for society. It is a fundamental contradiction.

    ANA PASTOR, JOURNALIST (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): It may be a contradiction, but we should be able to have all kinds of media. I guess you defend that principle.

    CORREA: Yes, but I think there should be more public and community media, organizations that don't have that conflict between profits and social communication. What do you think happens when TV shows have to criticize a bank that owns or fund them? Which would prevail, public or private interest?

    PASTOR: Well, in some cases professionalism.

    CORREA: No. That is your wish as a journalist, but the owners of the business would end up imposing their will towards profits. That is what happened to us at the beginning of our term. Please let us all understand what goes on in Latin America. Out of the seven TV Networks in Ecuador, five used to belong to the banks. When we wanted to regulate the banks to avoid executive malpractices and an eventual crisis like the one now taking place here in Spain, we used to have all the TV networks against us. There is a conflict of interest.


    LEÓN: On October 8, 2012, Ana Pastor, the journalist interviewing Correa for TVE, the Spanish public network, was fired along with many other well-known journalists by the board installed by the new conservative Rajoy administration after she asked some uncomfortable questions to popular conservative party officials.

    If the media "arena" is really a "battle for the will of the people", then President Rafael Correa is apparently winning the fight, conquering election after election. A majority of Ecuadorian people do support him, and many think he does the right thing by "getting back" at the big media. For people in the U.S. it might be hard to imagine President Obama going after Fox News week after week, but then again, United States didn't have three coups and ten presidents in 11 years like Ecuador did before Correa took power in 2007. This might explain why Correa is adamant in his critique against the privately owned media outlets.

    It is ironic that this diplomatic dispute between U.S. and Ecuador around freedom of the press takes place at a time when the Obama administration seized phone records of the Associated Press.

    I am Oscar León for The Real News Network.


    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


    Latest Stories

    Affirmative Action Ruling Will Further Racial Inequality
    Evidence for Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Based on Shoddy Journalism
    Ivy League Study: The General Public Has Virtually No Influence on Policy
    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    An Asia "Pivot" Should Mean Cooperating with China to Solve the Global Environmental Crisis
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement
    Intimidation and Political Interference Goes Unpunished in UAW Case
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7), Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting