Ownership concentration within the private media is a problem in Ecuador, according to Freedom House. In December 2014, it was reported that Mexican media mogul Remigio Ángel González was buying El Comercio, Ecuador’s oldest and most recognized newspaper. González already owned 13 television channels and radio stations in Ecuador and was expected to change the editorial tone of El Comercio, which has been critical of the government.
Foreign ownership of communication outlets was initially illegal under the Communication Law, but Correa passed an implementing regulation in late 2013 that revised the relevant article and allowed foreigners from countries that had signed certain cooperative agreements with Ecuador to own national media. Journalists and outside watchdog groups expressed concern that the sale of El Comercio would further limit media diversity.
The government is the country’s largest advertiser and generally grants ad contracts to outlets that provide favorable coverage. In 2012, Correa directed his press secretary to withdraw public advertising from what he called “mercantilist” media outlets, including the newspapers Hoy, El Comercio, El Universo, and La Hora, and the television stations Teleamazonas and Ecuavisa. The intrusive regulations and sanctions associated with the Communication Law have made it even more difficult for independent media to achieve financial sustainability and retain advertisers. Analysts say that businesses do not want to be associated with media targeted by the authorities, as they could lose state contracts or face government audits in reprisal.
Source: Freedom of the Press Index 2015 – Ecuador