QUITO, (Reuters) – Ecuadorean private media groups have called on the leftist government to stop airing spots on state television during World Cup matches that accuse journalists of distorting the truth in the Andean nation.
Ecuador’s television association said the government messages “fomented disunion and the stigmatization of those who do not submit to the interests of the powerful.”
One spot that has run during World Cup games suggests reporters are more loyal to the companies that pay them than they are to the pursuit of the truth.
“The truth must be the main principle behind freedom of expression,” the advertisement says.
Last week a congressional committee approved a bill that would set up a media watchdog group to ensure print and broadcast journalists produce “truthful, reasonable” stories.
The bill now goes to the full Congress for debate.
The proposal is backed by lawmakers aligned with President Rafael Correa, who regularly criticizes local newspapers and television stations that question his leftist policies.
The watchdog panel would aim to ensure that mass communication is “truthful, reasonable, in proper context and based on multiple sources.”
But the seven-member committee, which would include two people appointed by the president, could not punish journalists who fall short of those standards.