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Ecuador: The Departure of a Television Anchor

Categories: Latin America, Ecuador, Media & Journalism

In the middle of a tense election season in Ecuador and with the general elections scheduled for April 26, a popular television journalist was fired by the Ecuavisa [es] [1] station. The decision to fire Carlos Vera has opened the debate whether journalist can indeed by partisan and favor one side over the other. The station claims that Vera did not show journalistic integrity when, according to blogger Rafael Méndez Meneses he gave more airtime to mayoral candidate [es] [2] Ab. Jaime Nebot and did not allow his opponent Maria Duarte to provide a rebuttal. However, now there are even speculation that the government had applied pressure on the station to fire Vera.

Ecuadorian journalist and former Ecuavisa anchor, Carlos Vera. Used under permission [3]

Ecuadorian journalist and former Ecuavisa anchor, Carlos Vera. Used under his permission

However, Vera denies this claim and says that it has to do with an alleged insult towards President Correa [es] [4] (see video [5]).

Because of his visibility and the trajectories as journalist both on television and in print, Vera is well-known person in Ecuador and local bloggers have their own opinions. However, he is not loved by all, and Autentico Ecuatoriano [es] describes him:

Carlos Vera Rodríguez es quizá el periodista más polémico del Ecuador en las últimas dos décadas. Dueño de un estilo incisivo, arrogante, en veces hasta raya en la petulancia y eso lo hace no sólo un poco antipático

Carlos Vera Rodríguez may be the most controversial journalist in Ecuador over the past two decades. He has a very cutting and arrogant style, and sometimes crosses the line and that does not make only a little unpleasant

Despite this, the station has to consider external pressures. Francisco Suarez of Desde mi Trinchera [es] [6] believes the Roca family, owners of Ecuavisa and other media entities in the country, have had to act according to how it would affect business and have had to sacrifice the journalistic work of the channel due to pressures:

Carlos Vera Rodríguez nunca fue un periodista de mi predilección. Grosero como él sólo a más no poder, estrujaba a sus entrevistados como lavandera a jeans viejos. Palo y más palo. Contrapuntos fuertes y en vivo transmitidos en Ecuavisa ni bien el gallo dejaba de cantar. Sin embargo (y lo digo con la convicción de haberlo vivido como entrevistado suyo que fui por dos ocasiones) cada palabra o argumento que soltaba su boca venía cargada de datos soportados por documentos oficiales obtenidos de fuentes confiables.

Carlos Rodriguez Vera was never one of my favorite journalists. Rude as only he could be, he squeezed his interviewees like a washer of clothes into old jeans. He hit them hard with his stick. Strong counterpoints were transmitted live on Ecuavisa early in the morning. However (and I say it with the conviction of having lived, as I was interviewed by him twice) each word or argument that came from his mouth was full of data supported by official documents obtained from reliable sources.

Ecuador Sin Censura [es] [7] also agrees that the owners were receiving pressure from the government to silent dissident voices, such as the journalist who was fired. The government provides a lot of business to Ecuavisa and there were some hints dropped in order to remind the station about this.

With the departure of a figure of the likes of Vera, many doubt the credibility and independence of television media channels like Ecuavisa. Auténtico Ecuatoriano [es] [8] refers to another of the journalists, Jorge Ortiz, who has a program on the same TV channel:

Ortiz hizo lo correcto, callar hasta encontrar el momento acertado para dar una estocada final: la seriedad de los Noticieros y Programas de Opinión de Ecuavisa estarán ya no en entredicho de aqui en adelante, sino que su credibilidad tocaría asintóticamente el CERO.

Ortiz was right, he kept quiet until he found the right moment to give a final thrust: the seriousness of news and opinion program of Ecuavisa are no longer in jeopardy from here onwards, but its credibility will strike zero asymptomatically.

While Diaro Relativo [es] [9] applauds the decision of the directors of the channel and criticizes Mr. Vera:

Ecuavisa se puso las pilas al cancelar el programa de Carlos Vera “Cero Tolerancia”, es una medida muy justa, los televidentes estábamos ya hasta el copete de la arrogancia y parcialización de dicho mediocre periodista ( aunque en este país no hay periodistas excelentes).

Ecuavisa made the right decision to cancel the Carlos Vera's program “Zero Tolerance”, it is fair, viewers were already fed up with his arrogance and bias of such a mediocre journalist (although in this country there are not excellent journalists).

During his time off the air, fans of Vera can voice support for him on a Facebook group. [10]