On 24 May 2012, authorities of the Police and the Telecommunications Superintendence (SUPERTEL) seized equipment and closed down TV station Lidervision in the city of Tena and Radio Lider in the city of Archidona.
According to the radio and TV stations' owner, Edison Chavez, the stations were closed down because they owed six months of concession fees. However, he said the case had been appealed in the Contentious Administrative Court, so that according to
Art.67 of the Broadcasting and Television Law, they should not have been closed down while the legal process was still going on.
The frequencies' owner believes the closures were politically motivated and that they (the authorities) aim to suspend all private media using any kind of argument .
In his case, Chavez asserted that his media outlets have criticized authorities and have given the public a space to express itself. For example, he pointed out that they questioned the sudden layoffs of public servants, as well as the gas crisis
in the province that caused people to have to make long queues. It was the only outlet citizens could use to protest and express themselves because the rest are pro-government , he said.
CPJ wrote a letter to Fabian Jaramillo Palacios, Director of Telecommunications, Ecuador
Dear Mr. Jaramillo:
The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the closure of at least 11 Ecuadoran broadcasters since May. Our review of the closures found that in some instances government regulators did not follow the due process guarantees
specified by law. CPJ's review also found that more than half of the stations that were closed had been critical of the government. While the government has the right to regulate the airwaves, it also has an obligation to do so in a transparent
and unbiased manner.
CPJ is also concerned that some closures could have been motivated by the stations' criticism of authorities. Some station owners and managers told CPJ and local journalists that they were targeted after airing news reports that were critical of
the government. They also claimed the government intended to turn over many of the vacated frequencies to newly formed community radio stations that support the government.
We are concerned these closures reflect an effort to control the flow of information, suppress dissent, and expand pro-government media. We call on you to allow the stations to resume broadcasting and ensure that all critical voices in the
country are able to report freely without undue government interference.