Ecuador’s National Assembly accepted most of President Lenin Moreno’s changes to the new communication law on Thursday, sending it back to the president for his signature. The revised law permanently closes the media watchdog office Supercom, eliminates government penalties against journalists and news media and reallocates radio and television frequencies.
In addition, the law eliminates language contained in the 2013 law designating news as a public service to be regulated by the government. It also removes the so-called “media lynching” rule that made it easier for public officials to bring legal action against the media.
The original law, promoted by former president Rafael Correa, had been widely criticized by international human rights and journalist organizations for muzzling freedom of speech.
The revised legislation also assigns more radio and television frequencies to private ownership. The new allocation is 10 percent of frequencies for public use, 56 percent for private companies and 34 percent for community use. The old division divided the frequencies equally.
The new law reconstitutes the media regulatory agency, the Communication Regulation Council, or Cordicom. The council will now include representatives from the president’s office, the Citizen Participation Council, the Equality Council, the Higher Education Council and local governments.