Ecuador reverses decision to shut down press freedom watchdog group

Sep 28, 2015 | 4 comments

The independent press watchdog organization, Fundamedios, will not be closed after all.


Cesar Ricaurte, Fundamedios director, praises Friday’s decision that will allow his organization to keep its non-profit status.

Ecuador’s communications secretariat said two weeks ago that Fundamedios had violated its charter as a non-profit organization by engaging in partisan politics and began the process to shut it down. The announcement was widely condemned by international press organizations as well as by some governments.

On Friday, Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado said his office supported the recommendations of Ecuador’s national ombudsman to keep Fundamedios open. “We have read the ombudsman’s report and agree with the conclusions,” Alvarado said. “We have a fair process for evaluating these situations and have concluded that we need to retract our earlier order.”

Cesar Ricaurte, Fundamedios director, praised the decision and said he believed that international pressure played a part in the government’s reversal. “We also appreciate the fact that the secretariat was open to changing its mind and give it credit for this,” he said. “We are happy that we will be able to continue our work on behalf of the principles of freedom of speech.”