Supercom sanctions newspaper and cartoonist for alleged socioeconomical discrimination

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Cartoonist Xavier Bonilla “Bonil”. Image: Luis Argüello/Magazine Plan V

Cartoonist Xavier Bonilla “Bonil”. Image: Luis Argüello/Magazine Plan V

On February 13th, 2015, the Superintendence of Information and Communication (Supercom for its acronym in Spanish) sanctioned El Universo Newspaper and cartoonist Xavier Bonilla “Bonil” with the obligation of presenting a public apology to the afro-Ecuadorian collectivity, after considering that they were affected by the discriminatory content regarding their socioeconomic condition, by the cartoon published on August 5th, 2014, in which Assembly Representative and former soccer player Agustín Delgado was satirized for his lack of reading skills.

The control institution informed that the space “La Columna de Bonil”, affected the afro-Ecuadorian collectivity, violating article 62 of the Communication Law referring to the prohibition of publishing discriminatory contents, while its author, Xavier Bonilla, was considered responsible of not compelling with article 10, number 1, section b) of the Law, which refers to deontological norms and refraining from publishing discriminatory contents.

Consequently, Supercom issued a written sanction for the cartoonist for him to correct and enhance his professional practices “for the full and effective exercise of communication rights” and compelled him to “refrain from committing acts that are contained in the Communication Law”. The newspaper has 72 hours to issue a public apology and copy it to Supercom, as well as publishing it in its web page, for not less than seven consecutive days.

On November 5th, 2014, Supercom admitted the claim presented by members of various afro-Ecuadorian organizations against both, the cartoonist and the newspaper for publishing messages that constitute an apology of discrimination and an invitation to commit violent acts or practices.

It is important to remember that the claim emerged from a Bonil’s cartoon, in which the former soccer player and current Assembly Representative was drawn, after his intervention at the Assembly, which was hardly criticized and mocked on social networks. In the cartoon, Bonil used the legislator’s picture in two scenes. In the first scene he wrote the text: “COM.. CON…M… MI DIII..SCURSO TODOS DICCEN “POBRE TIN POBRE TIN”. While in the second scene from left to right, the text said: “¡PERO CON MI SUELDO DE ASAMBLEÍSTA YA NADIE DICE “POBRETÓN POBRETÓN”.

As precedent, on August 9th, 2014, President Rafael Correa, during his Weekly Broadcast N° 385 diminished the cartoonist for this cartoon and accused him of being “racist” and a “bad politician”. The President also discredited El Universo Newspaper and asked people to rebel against “the corrupt press”. Days before, on August 7th, from his official Twitter account, Bonil apologized to the Assembly Representative and his family for the cartoon, since hours before, Delgado showed his discomfort with it.

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