Attacks on Freedom of Expression Follow Ecuador's Contentious Election

The World Movement for Democracy is alarmed to report there has been a recent crackdown on freedom of expression in Ecuador after President Rafael Correa’s former vice president, Lenin Moreno, narrowly defeated opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso in the April 2 runoff elections. Shortly after the election, police officers raided the office of the Ecuadorian NGO the Center of Studies and Data (CEDATOS) after they published an exit poll that gave Lasso 53% of the vote and Moreno only 47%, which differed from the National Electoral Council (NEC) results that confirmed Moreno as the winner. According to the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), seven news media organizations – four newspapers and three television broadcasters – were fined by the Superintendency of Information and Communications (SUPERCOM) for not publishing an article about Lasso’s alleged offshore bank accounts. Moreno will take office on May 24, 2017, however, his opponent, Lasso, has rejected the outcome, alleging election fraud.

Recommendations from the UN Human Rights Council’s recent Universal Periodic Review (UPR) called on Ecuador to improve judicial independence, freedom of expression and association, and restrictive regulations such as the Organic Law on Communications. María Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's United Nations Ambassador to the Human Rights Council, stated that the rejected 19 recommendations are inaccurate in their assumption that there is a need to improve these three issues in the country.