Bonil cartoon in the newspaper El Universo, December 2013
On 28 December 2013, a cartoon by “Bonil” was published in the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo in connection with a police raid on Fernando Villavicencio’s house. The then president, Rafael Correa, called the cartoonist a liar and a hater.
In early 2014, Supercom (Superintendencia de la Información y Comunicación) requested a copy of the cartoon and the cartoonist’s details, opening a process in which the author had to defend himself and explain his cartoon.
Finally, the newspaper was fined 2% of its average turnover for the last three months and the cartoonist was given 72 hours to publish a correction of the cartoon.
The correction was a satirical enlargement of the original cartoon by twisting the joke.
Bonil’s “rectification” cartoon
Now, the members of the 2nd District Court of Administrative Litigation have declared null and void the resolution issued by Supercom against cartoonist Bonil and the newspaper El Universo.
Supercom has issued a statement in which it “welcomes” the court’s ruling with respect but also announces that it will contest it.
The cartoonist Bonil has already had to face several proceedings initiated by Supercom. Three of them under the “Communication Law” and one under the Democracy Code.
Some previous cases:
Supercom has acted against the media on many occasions by virtue of decree 214 of 20 January 2014, which contains the new Regulations to the Organic Law on Communication and Information ( 89 articles, 4 transitory provisions and 1 final) which has been in force since last 25 June 2013 Organic Law on Communication (PDF)
In Ecuador, since January 2014, internet media have also been regulated by this so-called Communication Law. For many, this is nothing more than a series of control measures that may end up being used to silence dissenting opinions of critical media, and they point out that it is a way of bypassing justice by giving the government the freedom to intervene at its own discretion.