In Ecuador, media and politics have been historically tied together. Over time, the banking industry has had financial stakes in the media and vice versa. Yet, from the time that President Rafael Correa took office in 2007, the situation has been turned around. Correa has used a permanent campaign to appeal to the public and change the media ownership environment of the country. The President’s strategy has included the acquisition of private media such as newspapers, and radio and television station; as well as the establishment of governmental media entities. Additionally, as part of Correa’s permanent campaign scheme, the president has used state-mandated time slots in all public and private broadcasting channels — known as cadenas nacionales (national chains) — to carry out his political agenda and to criticize the press and its coverage of the government.
This has created a political rift between the public and private sector, giving way to a media war. Through it, the media criticize the president and his policies, and the president, in turn, verbally attacks the media. Due to that, national and international media organizations have concluded that there is a chilling effect among the Ecuadorian press.
This paper analyzed the content of opinion columns for one of the most important privately owned newspapers in Ecuador, El Universo. The research analyzed the negativity levels of the columns for three periods during the time that Correa has been in office, and showed increasing levels of negativity in them. Thus, the analysis disproves the argument that Correa’s public criticisms on the media have created a chilling effect.
Chilling effect; Communication in politics; Correa, Rafael; Ecuador; Freedom of the press; Mass media – Political aspects; Media; Permanent campaigning; Political campaigns; Press freedom
Comparative Politics | Journalism Studies | Latin American Studies
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Flor Agreda, M. J.
Governing through Permanent Campaigning: Media Usage and Press Freedom in Ecuador.
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