Ecuadorian Cartoonist Bonilla verbally assaulted by President


Photograph credited to www.prisaediciones.com

On December 26, 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, twelve policemen entered the home of Fernando Villavicencia. As the parliamentary advisor of the opposition to Rafael Correa’s regime, he was searched and accused of alleged espionage against President Correa and other state officials.    

This story was picked up by Xavier Bonilla, a well-known cartoonist for several media outlets in Ecuador. Using his pen name “Bonil”, he went on to publish a cartoon about the controversy in the national newspaper, El Universo.   
Cartoon by Bonil
After it was published, political cartoonist Bonil and El Universo were given a notice by the Ecuadorean government to respond to a complaint regarding the cartoon. El Universo was asked to provide all information surrounding the cartoon and Bonil was asked to write an explanation for his actions then present these answers in court. 
Since the publication of his cartoon, Bonil has been verbally attacked by President Correa and his regime by many media outlets. Correa has personally accused Xavier Bonil of lying to the public in an attempt to destroy Correa’s image. The president demanded Xavier Bonil to provide proof to the police for such accusations of corruption. Correa went on to emphasize that he doesn’t have a problem with the cartoon but with the false information he provided in his cartoon. In a personal interview with CRNI director Dr. Robert Russell, Bonil defended his case by telling us that all the information he used was from reliable sources and that although slightly exaggerated, it deals with something that happened. 
With the new Communications Law passed by the National Assembly on June 14 of last year, Bonil will be one of the first artists dealing with this restrictive and controversial law in court. The law was a huge victory for Correa in 2013 as it gave him more power over press and media. He has advocated the law for bringing “good press” in Ecuador. However, there have been many critics saying that it has been a tremendous setback on the freedom of expression in Ecuador. 
As one of the most respected cartoonists in the country, this is leaving many Ecuadorian journalists and cartoonists worried. Under the “Ley Organica de Comunicacion”, Correa is asking for media outlets to respect the reputation and honor of others. However, many see this as a way for him to filter media outlets with what he finds appropriate for the public to know. Now with many cartoonists and journalists publishing their own work without the confirmation of editors and publishers, Correa is looking to restrict artists from working independently. With all this happening, Bonil emphasized that things could get worse if President Correa continues to control what can be said about him and his regime. 
Spot Gobierno
Sabatina del Presidente 
France Press Agency
CNN Interview Camilo Egaña (Jan. 14, 2013)
America TeVe Interview (Miami)
Colombian Channel NTN24 Interview)
Radial Interview Andrés Carrión Radio Platinum )
NOTA DIARIO HOY Domingo Los trazos que arañan al poder
El Cuidadano, Presidential Newspaper of Ecuador
La República
Artículo Iván Sandoval
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