Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Tuesday he backs a media reform bill that has sparked outrage from journalists who claim it would clamp down on freedom of expression in the Andean country.
Lawmakers loyal to leftist Correa have introduced a measure to form a government-controlled watchdog panel with powers to punish journalists who break rules that will be outlined in the proposed legislation.
“You have to regulate and control the media,” Correa told reporters in his strongest statement yet on the subject. “Freedom without prior responsibility is libertinism.”
Correa regularly criticizes the press, which he accuses of siding with business groups that oppose his socialist reforms.
Other left-leaning South American countries like Venezuela and Argentina have also taken steps to control the media.