Ecuador profile

Newspaper vendor

Relations between the media and political leaders have been strained

Journalists convicted in Correa libel case

Ecuador media moves create waves

Private outlets dominate the media. Radio is the most widely-available medium; there are hundreds of stations. Some rural stations broadcast in indigenous languages.

Latin American soap operas and US series are staple fare on TV, although domestic production is on the increase.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech. However, some self-censorship, especially regarding politically-sensitive issues and stories about the armed forces, is exercised.

Also, defamation is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison. In 2011, three executives and a former columnist from opposition daily El Universo were sentenced to jail terms and a massive fine for libelling President Correa.

Under a law which requires the media to give the government free space or air time, governments can and have required TV and radio to broadcast programmes produced by the state.

President Correa often directs verbal attacks at the press during his weekly TV and radio broadcasts, says US-based Freedom House.

In 2012, Reporters Without Borders highlighted a wave of closures of broadcasting outlets, "mostly stations critical of the government".

There were 4.1 million internet users by December 2011 (via Internetworldstats.com).

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