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Legislation currently being debated in Congress threatens press freedom

(RSF/IFEX) - An amendment to the Penal Code which is currently
being debated in Congress provides for penalties ranging from six
months to two years in prison for any individual who obtains,
reproduces or circulates images (photographs or videos),
recordings or texts which contain information that could damage
the intimacy and personal lives of people, particularly
politicians. If this legislation is approved, there are fears
that journalists will have nothing more than official communiques
as their source of information. On 3 September 1997, deputies
approved the bill by a vote of 70-2 in favour.

In the face of several protests following the vote, Congress
decided, a few days later, to suspend temporarily the passage of
this legislation. Currently, it is being assessed by a
legislative committee.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:
  • considering the proposed amendment to be a serious threat to
    press freedom and that, if approved, could lead to serious abuses
  • calling on them to use their influence so that the legislation
    is annulled
  • calling on President Fabian Alarcon to exercise his veto rights
    in the event that the legislation is approved by Congress

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Fabian Alarcon
    President of the Republic
    Quito, Ecuador

    c/o the Ecuadorian diplomatic representative in your country

    (in Canada)
    50 O'Connor Street
    Suite 1311
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1P 6L2
    Fax: +1 613 235 5776

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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