ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2016.02.23

View Adopted: 2022.10.26

Carlos Eduardo Pérez Barriga et al. v. Ecuador

Censorship of a national newspaper under the guise of a constitutional reform

Substantive Issues
  • Effective remedy
  • Equality before the law
  • Freedom of expression
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14
  • Article 19
  • Article 2 - OP1
  • Article 2.3
  • Article 26
  • Article 5 - OP1
Full Text


The authors, directors and shareholders of Diario el Universo. alleged that the State party violated their rights under articles 2(3), 14, 19 and 26 of the Covenant. The State party, in a constitutional reform via referendum, prohibited directors and shareholders of communication companies from having interests in businesses outside the communications sector and to dispose of any existing interests within a year. Thereafter, the State party passed the Organic Law of Communication (LOC) which establishes regulation and sanctions for communication companies, as well as a position- Superintendent of Information and Communication (Supercom) which has the power to investigate communication companies. The authors allege that Supercom, under the command and discretion of the Executive, controls information disseminated to the public by communication companies.


The claims under articles 2(3), 14, and 26 are inadmissible for failure to substantiate. However, the author’s claims under article 19 read in conjunction with article 2(3) are fully substantiated and therefore admissible.


The newspaper was subject to multiple Supercom administrative processes in which it was asked to publish replies under strict criteria and that in at least 3 of these processes, the authors were sanctioned with onerous fines. The Committee concludes that the situation of the authors was covered by article 19 of the Covenant. It is inherent in every society that citizens are informed by other than those in power and that they may criticize their governments without fear of being subjected to punishment. This freedom may only be restricted for a) respect for the rights or reputation of others; and b) the protection of national security, public order or public health or morals. The State party has not demonstrated that the measures taken in the administrative proceedings against the newspaper were justified. The said measures were disproportionate and were not strictly necessary in order to protect the reputation of individuals. Furthermore, the State party violated the right of the authors to an effective remedy because the administrative proceedings did not have a suspensive effect on the sanctions imposed, consequently resulting to irreparable damage.


The State party is obligated, inter alia, to provide the authors with an effective remedy. This requires comprehensive reparation for people whose rights have been violated. In this regard, the State party should, inter alia, provide the perpetrators with adequate compensation.


Deadline: 26 April 2023

By: Maricon Torres Lorenzo

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