On 13 September 2015, the National Federation of Journalists (FENAPE) reported that a false directive board is using its name to issue statements that do not represent this professional association’s opinion. This weekend, paid full-page adverts were published in several Ecuadorian newspapers allegedly representing Fenape and stating that the organization supports the dissolution process initiated against Fundamedios by the National Communications Secretariat (Secom).
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In a public statement, Fenape “rejected the publication of a paid advert in the country’s leading newspapers against Fundamedios and for its unconstitutional intervention by the Presidency’s Communication Secretariat, Secom. It was signed by Edgar Quiñones, who illegally presented himself as president of this professional association”.
In the statement, Fenape asserted that in accordance with its Code of Ethics it cannot pronounce itself in favor of the persecution of Fundamedios. The professional association stated that “Quiñones’s complaint against Fundamedios for failing to undertake the defense of journalists reveals his ignorance of Fenape’s functions, defined in the law that created it 40 years ago”.
Susana Piedra, elected president of Fenape, declared in a previous statement that “freedom of expression is a fundamental right and the issue of this decision by Secom violates the very existence of this right”.
Speaking to Fundamedios, Piedra stated that the attempt to use Fenape’s name responds to the need of people aligned with the government to have a voice in the journalists’ federation. On 2 May it was reported that a group of about 150 people from Guayas and Esmeraldas, accompanied by provincial leaders Martín Villegas and Edgar Quiñones, attempted to occupy the facilities of the Association of Journalists of Pichincha in Quito to disrupt the election process of Fenape’s Executive Committee and carry out a “farcical election” of a directive board that, she said, does not have the backing of journalists’ associations because they did not have the legal authority to participate in them.
At the time it was known that these people attempted to enter violently and broke the doors, necessitating the intervention of the police. The group, which was described as an “infiltrator”, was forced to stay in the courtyard of the building where it carried out its own elections and now present themselves as leaders of the organization signing its directives.
In addition to the paid adverts, on Thursday 10 September new accounts were created in social networks that run parallel to Fenape’s official accounts, which are active since 2012. Official media outlets such as El Telégrafo and Agencia Andes reproduced the statement signed by Edgar Quiñones, who claims to be president of Fenape, in support of the actions taken by the government against Fundamedios. A video against Fundamedios, advertised in Facebook, has also circulated through those parallel accounts. Moreover, the government media have widely reproduced these alleged pronouncements, http://www.andes.info.ec/es/noticias/gremios-periodistas-critican-fundamedios-desviarse-sus-fines-estatutarios-ejecutar-acciones
Piedra declared they will denounce these events and the use of Fenape’s name before the International Federation of Journalists IFJ. Marcelo Larrea, former Fenape president, stated that these people attempted to take by storm the Federation and as they failed, now they seek to use its name.