Ecuadorian government threatens to close NGO, orders them to stop speaking out
June 29, Quito: Through an official notice sent on Thursday, the National Communications Secretariat (Secom) pressed Fundamedios “to comply with current legal regulations and the rules of its own statute” claiming that the dissemination of the organisation’s “alerts, messages and essays” is evidence “of clearly political positions that go against the social development that is stated as the main objective of this social organization”. Secom accused Fundamedios of having “clearly deviated from its statutory purposes”.
The notice mentions the grounds for dissolution established by Executive Decree 16 and threatens Fundamedios, stating it has a “clear intention to play a key role as a political actor that seeks to generate mistrust among the public about matters that are outside its scope”. It also orders the organization “to stop intervening in political issues, as expressly provided for (…) in its current statute”.
Article 26 of Executive Decree 16, the constitutionality of which has been questioned by several civil society organizations, establishes as grounds for the dissolution of an organization “deviating from the aims and objectives for which it was constituted”, “repeatedly contravening provisions issued by the relevant authorities”, “engaging in partisan political activities (…), interfering in public policies, putting at risk internal or external security of the State or affecting public peace” and “failing to comply with the obligations established by the Constitution, the law and these Regulations, or by going against the prohibitions established herein”.
It is worth recalling that on 16 January 2014, Secom became the entity in charge of controlling and regulating Fundamedios. During a press conference held on 27 January of the same year, the organization had already observed that its administrative control was now in the hands of its main opponent.
Fundamedios rejects these unfounded allegations and the government’s clear threat. Our work, consisting of monitoring, defending and promoting freedom of expression, is legitimate, legal and necessary for the country and does not include any element that is not part of the duties performed by any organization according to the goals we have. We will continue to fulfill our institutional duties with conviction and determination.
The Oslo Times and Ifex