Ecuador has approved its new telecoms law after over three years of intense debate. The law establishes that 33% of frequency space will be for public broadcasting, 33% for private and 34% for community broadcasting.
This division has generated strong criticism from the media, as 68% of TV stations and 83% of radio station are currently operated by private companies, with community initiatives being almost non-existent.
The law also aims to control the country's media by creating various institutions to regulate programming and information. Always with a majority of members connected to the Government, these institutions will, for example, promote the broadcasting of national productions but also control the strict application of future laws for media politics.
Another important part of the law is that the rectification of unproven information will be mandatory for the media. The correct information will have to be published within 72 hours and in the same programme which it originally featured. Breaking this rule will result in fines of 10% of the quarterly income of the company in question.
Ecuador's private media have criticised the law, above all for not clearly specifying the competences of the new regulatory institutions – which the companies see as an attempt to establish more control over them – or making clear what will happen to the private signals after reducing their broadcasting space to the 33%.