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Ecuador: Coaching Despite State of Emergency

An uprising by police brought Ecuador to the brink of a coup at the end of September. When the government temporarily took over all broadcasting frequencies, critics accused it of harming freedom of the press.

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The assault on the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, brought the Latin American country to the brink of a coup. Protesting police units had taken Correa by force on the afternoon of September 30th and had held him for ten hours in a police hospital.

11.2010 DW-AKADEMIE Medienentwicklung Lateinamerika Ecuador Beratung Staatsfernsehen 2

The government swiftly reacted: for almost seven hours it took over all television networks, and only broadcast live reports from the state channel ECTV. “This has drastically affected the way the broadcaster is now perceived from outside,” says Matthias Kopp, DW-AKADEMIE project manager. Using Twitter, people aired their grievances about the state control.

That day of the near-coup, Kopp had been on his way to Quito to consult with the state broadcaster on public service broadcasting. The experienced trainer promptly rearranged his plans: because of the current events he coached the staff on reporting live during and after the revolt.

11.2010 DW-AKADEMIE Medienentwicklung Lateinamerika Ecuador Beratung Staatsfernsehen 3

“We looked at ECTV’s background reports on the role of the police, the military and the government and critically analyzed them,” Kopp says. The result: “Considering the circumstances, the limits and the extremely polarized media culture in Ecuador, the ECTV colleagues reported relatively professionally.”
But, he says, much work is still needed to increase the journalistic quality of ECTV’s news programs. “And,” he adds, “the discussion around the role of public television in Ecuador, which has been at the foreground since September 30th, also needs DW-AKADEMIE’s support.”

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