Following days of violent protests, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno reversed himself late Sunday and canceled an austerity program that triggered the general public’s anger. Lots of Ecuador’s indigenous populations have been on the forefront of the protests.
Despite the fact that stability has been restored, issues stay that journalists and reporters, who say they have been assaulted by authorities forces whereas masking the protests, will stay targets of oppression by safety personnel.
Fundamedios, an Ecuadorian nongovernmental group created in 2007 to assist media and journalists, reported that 42 reporters from 23 Ecuadorian media shops suffered some sort of aggression whereas masking the protests.
The group recorded 24 circumstances wherein law enforcement officials violently approached journalists, photographers and digital camera operators. There have been additionally 11 circumstances of verbal aggression by protesters towards journalists, and a cameraman was hit by a taxi driver.
The Ecuadorian Nationwide Union of Journalists (UNP) denounced the bodily and verbal assaults by safety forces towards media professionals masking the protests. In different circumstances, demonstrators insulted and attacked reporters, even throughout reside broadcasts.
Fundamedios demanded that the nationwide authorities assure the safety of the work of journalists. “It is not possible that so many professionals have been assaulted by the National Police in such a violent manner while fulfilling the duty of informing citizens,” mentioned the group in an announcement.
Information shops reported the Pichincha Common radio station was raided by safety forces. Station homeowners blamed the police and the prosecutor’s workplace.
In an interview with VOA, Natalie Southwick of the Committee to Shield Journalists (CPJ) mentioned the group continues to carefully monitor the violence and short-term arrests. She reiterated the correct of journalists to cowl demonstrations and political occasions in international locations the place they happen.
Southwick additionally famous that because the time of former President Rafael Correa, there was in Ecuador “a history of censorship and very strong patterns of repression against the press.”
“Many authorities are already accustomed that the press will criticize them,” Southwick mentioned. “People have the right to protest, and the press has every right to be covering these actions.”
The present scenario, she mentioned, is new “for both the security forces and the press; the police are not used to handling demonstrations where there is a lot of press, so there is a lack of awareness, but they have to make sure journalists can do their job safely.”
Southwick additionally mentioned what is going on in Ecuador is just not that totally different from what occurs with the press in lots of different nations the place authorities protests happen. “What we are seeing in Ecuador is what we are seeing in many countries of the world that are in the middle of the storm,” she mentioned.
Due to elevated violence towards journalists in Ecuador, Moreno’s workplace issued an announcement reminding the police and civil society concerning the relevance of journalism. It is not clear whether or not canceling the austerity plan will cut back assaults towards reporters.
“We recognize the importance of the journalistic exercise to keep citizens informed in a truthful and timely manner. Therefore, all acts of violence must be criticized and denounced to the competent authorities,” the assertion mentioned.
In accordance with some observers, nonetheless, the assaults don’t signify a scientific marketing campaign by the federal government towards the media or press freedom. A veteran Ecuadorian journalist described the occasions as remoted incidents that in some circumstances have been brought on by inexperienced reporters.
“If I stand in front of a policeman who is doing his job and they beat me, I will not cry,” mentioned Jaime Mantilla, former president of the Inter-American Press Affiliation and former director of the Ecuadorian newspapers El Comercio and Hoy.
“These days there are many hypersensitive journalists who no longer like to do their work and only live in social media,” Mantilla mentioned.