Author Topic: Ecuadoran government imposes censorship of media due to volcano crisis outside  (Read 933 times)

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Offline mayya

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Ecuadoran government imposes censorship of media due to volcano crisis outside Quito

By Teresa Mioli

The free flow of information regarding an active volcano currently erupting about 30 miles south of Quito, Ecuador may be threatened now that President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency in that country.

The declaration frees the government to use funds for relief work and to mobilize military and police for security, but it also allows for “censorship of communications about the volcano, including in social media,”according to the International Business Times (IBT).
Correa made the declaration regarding the Cotopaxi volcano on August 15 after explosions the day before 

caused the evacuation of nearby towns, according to reports. The state of emergency lasts for up to 60 days.
The decree, republished by freedom of expression organization Fundamedios, said that the censorship of information is to guarantee public security. It added that the public would only be informed by official bulletins emitted by the Ministry of Security Coordinator.

Screen shot of the official Twitter account of the Ministry of Security Coordinator of Ecuador, which is publishing official information concerning the Cotopaxi volcano.

National Secretary of Communication Fernando Alvarado said at a press conference that journalists' works can spread correct information or misinformation, according to a quote reported by Fundamedios.

“I understand that you want to do stories on this topic, but you need to have a lot of responsibility and great care in your stories, reports and photographs to not deviate at all from a clear official message about the dangers, prevention and tranquility of the population in the face of this natural phenomenon of the Cotopaxi volcano,” Alvarado said.

Yet, Fundamedios said that Alvarado did not clarify what scope the decree had in terms of censorship of social networks.

As of Monday afternoon, there had been more than 700 Tweets using the hashtag #Cotopaxi, according to Keyhole. Yet, the topic was not in the top ten trending Twitter topics for Ecuador.

Cotopaxi, which is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, “has a glacial cover, meaning it is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows,” according to United Press International. The news outlet added that the last major eruption of the volcano happened in 1877, though there was a smaller one in 1940.

Press advocates and media outlets have previously criticized Ecuador’s National Communications Secretariat (Secom) and Superintendency of Information and Communication (Supercom) for perceived overreaches in regulation of media content. According to previous reporting, Supercom examined more than 500 cases against media outlets, punished 313 companies and applied fines of about USD $274,000.00 in the last two years.

Posted at 2015-08-17 16:28