Ecuador's legislature passes restrictive media law, creating press watchdogs and new sanctions

Ecuador's congress has approved a communications bill that creates official media overseers, imposes sanctions for smearing "people's good name" and redistributes radio and TV frequencies.

Friday's approval comes amid growing confrontations between President Rafael Correa and his country's media, which accuse him of adopting authoritarian measures to control dissent.

The bill's author, lawmaker Mauro Andino, said the proposal would protect freedom of speech, but "with a focus on everybody's rights, not just for a group of the privileged." Among its provisions, the bill prohibits the consecutive publication of articles that hurt a person's prestige or public credibility.

Diego Cornego heads the Ecuadorean Association of Newspaper Editors and he says the bill reflects a state that "wants to impose only one viewpoint about reality."

The bill awaits Correa's signature.