I was recently invited to comment on Rafael Correa and his relationship with the media for Al Jazeera’s Listening Post. We’ve covered the issue in Global Voices, and I wrote about Correa’s victory in the libel case against El Universo in this blog in February.
The pardon put an artificial “end” to this battle between Correa and the media, but press freedom is likely to continue its decline in Ecuador. Carlos Lauría from the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that Correa is following the steps of other Latin American leaders (including Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua) who use state media and other means to discredit journalists.
But let’s look beyond traditional media: How does this atmosphere affect Ecuadorian citizen journalists, bloggers, and netizens in general? Will netizens that criticize the Ecuadorian government receive cyber-attacks and harassment like we’ve seen in Venezuela? The two cases set a very negative precedent (as I point out in the video), not just for freedom of the press, but for freedom of expression in general.