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Ecuador News

With management changes at Ecuador’s public media, Moreno puts his brand on the new government

Two weeks ago, Lenin Moreno cleared out the Rafael Correa-era management at the government-owned print and broadcast media. Last week, the new management laid out revised editorial policies and announced a goal of making public media self-supporting.

Fernando Larenas and Andrés Michelena

Behind the scenes, the changes have ignited outrage among Alianza País Correa loyalists who view them as a betrayal of the former president.

The appointment of Andrés Michelena as general manager of public media July 12, replacing Munir Massuh, was Moreno’s decisive media move, according to political observers. It was, however, the naming of Fernando Larenas, a career mainstream journalist as director of El Telégrafo, that generated the most anger from some Alianza País members.

“The issue was really determined when Michelena was picked to run things,” says Andres Castro, an aide to Correa in 2007 and 2008. “The Correistas focused on Larenas because he was part of the private media, one of Rafael’s big bogeymen going back to his first campaign. What makes them the maddest, however, is that they realize that they have lost the newspapers and television media as party propaganda tools. Moreno made it clear even before the presidential campaign began that he thought it was unfair that the public should pay for political party media. For some reason, the Correistas didn’t believe he would actually follow through.”

According to Castro, the appointment of Larenas set off an almost comical charade by Correa loyalists to undermine it. “They circulated stories that Moreno had changed his mind based on advice from party leaders and had rescinded the job offer to Larenas,” he said. “Moreno has thick skin though and doesn’t let fanatics influence him. He is perfectly comfortable letting them embarrass themselves.”

In two press conferences last week, Michelena and Larenas said government-owned media would open its pages and studios to a wide range of voices and opinions and drop the hard-line pro-government approach. They also announced that they expected the media to become self-supporting by attracting larger audiences and more advertising dollars.

“At El Telégrafo, my goal is to establish high journalistic standards that will let readers know we are newspaper that can be trusted and respected,” Larenas said at one of the press conferences. “We need to rebuild readership and can only do that by gaining the respect of the people of Ecuador.”

Castro believes that the Correa loyalists will soon realize that fighting Moreno’s decisions is a losing cause. “Once they fully realize that Moreno holds the winning hand I think they will quiet down,” he says. “At this point, they remind me of the old cartoon characters who run off a cliff and keep running for a few seconds before they realize their circumstances.”

6 thoughts on “With management changes at Ecuador’s public media, Moreno puts his brand on the new government

  1. What a simplistic and misguided position is the idea that a change of government policy is a betrayal of the former president. The ability to change (hopefully, correct) course is why we have term limits.

  2. The original founder of Telesur, Uruguayan journalist Aram Aharonian, gave a very interesting interview a few days ago on the demise of that network and it’s possible future. It’s in Spanish for those who are interested.

    http://questiondigital.com/fundador-de-telesur-la-izquierda-se-ha-quedado-en-la-denunciologia-y-el-lloriqueo/

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around what President Moreno is trying to accomplish, but I reckon any new executive should be given the benefit of the doubt for at least 6 months. Granted, I gave the same latitude to Trump for his first 6 months, but I surrendered any hope that there was a method to his madness 3 days ago. At some point you have to draw the line. He’s clearly in over his head. I hope my current doubts about Moreno don’t end in the same outcome. His approach is either enlightened genius or naive folly. I suppose which will become more evident by Christmas.

    1. No comment on your claim that Moreno wouldn’t name Fernando Larenas as director of El Telégrafo? See below.

    2. To be clear Telesur the TV station is distinct from and unrelated to the El Telégrafo newspaper mentioned in the original post.

      Concerning the article you linked to “co-fundó” means co-founded. I don’t put much stock in what ex-partners say when they bad mouth businesses they were once involved in, especially when they have been as close to Hugo Chavez as this guy was. Aram Aharonian is more of a politician and propagandist than a journalist. Since Telesur is owned jointly by the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Uruguay for the purposes of brainwashing people (which was also Aharonian’s original intent); we can only hope that it does indeed fail.

      Since the facts I’ve stated about Telesur may not seem credible to the uninformed here is a link which backs up all of them https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telesur_(TV_channel)

  3. I love this article because it shows what a fool faulkner is. He promised us that Larenas wouldn’t be named director of El Telégrafo. Now you can see who faulkner is shilling for. Read here:

    “According to Castro, the appointment of Larenas set off an almost comical charade by Correa loyalists [faulkner] to undermine it. “They [faulkner] circulated stories that Moreno had changed his mind based on advice from party leaders and had rescinded the job offer to Larenas,” he said. “Moreno has thick skin though and doesn’t let fanatics [faulkner] influence him. He is perfectly comfortable letting them embarrass themselves.”

  4. More good news, more steps in the right direction. I am very surprised but also very pleased. Regaining freedom of the press is a key step in the establishment of a free society. My favorite quotes from the article are the two below because I can imagine how much they irk those who for years have tried to pretend that the press was free.

    “Moreno made it clear even before the presidential campaign began that he thought it was unfair that the public should pay for political party media.”

    “At El Telégrafo, my goal is to establish high journalistic standards that will let readers know we are newspaper that can be trusted and respected,”

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