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Photo above of protesters gather outside of SUPERCOM offices in Quito to show their support for cartoonist Bonil during his hearing. Courtesy of Ruxandra Guidi.

In 2013, Ecuador passed a media law aimed at democratizing the media and encouraging media outlets to hold themselves to higher standards of truthful reporting. But the law also required that a government agency called SUPERCOM (Superintentendency review outlets and fine or censor them for posting racist, classist and sexist content, setting a dangerous precedent that any anti-government publishings will be called into question by SUPERCOM.

This past February, notable cartoonist Xavier Bonilla, known as Bonil, was fined $500,000 by his government after a cartoon he published lampooning a newly-elected black assemblyman’s poor communication skills was deemed racist. The fine sparked protests in Quito in support of Bonil and against the government’s perceived censorship.


Reporter Ruxandra Guidi, who has been working in Ecuador for the past few months, breaks down the law and shows how those opposed to it fear too much government control over the press, and how those in favor fear a freewheeling media run amok.

This reporting was funded by The International Reporting Project (internationalreportingproject.org).

 

Photo by Bear Guerra