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Ecuador Christmas

Ecuador Christmas Thought

Ecuador-christmas

Merri and I are enjoying our Ecuador Christmas roses that arrived yesterday.  We ordered 100… so they are all over the house… in…

Ecuador-christmas

four colors.

No matter how…

Ecuador-christmas

you view them… they are…

Ecuador-christmas

beautiful with… great rose smells.

However there may be more in the air than just rosy smells and Christmas tidings during this Ecuador Christmas.

Our Ecuador flower supplier just sent me this note:

Check our local newspapers for more information, I´ll be out protesting this, so maybe my picture will be in the newspaper.

He included this the Reuters article “Ecuador Suspends Signal Of Private TV Channel” which said: December 22. QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorean authorities on Tuesday took Teleamazonas private channel off the air for three days in a move likely to fuel concern among President Rafael Correa’s critics over press freedom under his leftist government.

Correa has in the past called for Teleamazonas to be shut for transmitting false information and has lashed out at private stations he says are conspiring with business groups opposed to his socialist reforms in the Andean country.

Ecuador’s telecommunications watchdog said Teleamazonas was punished because it had broadcast alarmist material about protests surrounding some of Correa’s local oil projects months earlier.

“We have followed due process and have given Teleamazonas an opportunity to exercise its right to defence,” Telecommunications Superintendent Fabian Jaramillo told reporters.

Teleamazonas, viewed across the country and a station that has been critical of Correa, said the measure was illegal and it was considering legal action.

The station has been fined before over its coverage. It had been under investigation recently for violations of a law drafted by a military dictatorship nearly 35 years ago.

“We consider this absolutely illegal,” Sebastian Corral, the channel’s director, told reporters.

Correa says he is not attacking press freedoms, but fighting powerful media barons who have for years gone unregulated. But his tough stance and actions against Teleamazonas could spark a negative public reaction, some analysts say.

Based on what I have heard from my Ecuadorian friends I suspect that the analysts are correct. There will be public protests.

As a writer I am the first to condemn any restriction of the press. From my point of view we should be able to write anything we like.

Yet  if this were allowed I am sure that the media would be abusive of this power… like any other institution… so like freedom of speech… freedom of the press must have some limits.

Where is the line drawn is the question?

I suspect I’ll hear from many readers about this three day suspension because whatever Correa does… the western press always seems to link him to Chavez in Venezuela.   Reuters… true to form included this paragraph in the article mentioned above.

The Ecuadorean leader says tighter regulation is needed, but his campaign parallels moves by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who refused to renew the license of one broadcaster and threatens to shut another anti-government station.

So I may look at this three day media suspension in another light… created from a Christmas reflection.

The incident is timely for me because it came just as Merri and I completed trimming our 2010 Christmas Tree.

Here it is.

Ecuador-christmas

Whenever I put the finishing touches on our Christmas Tree,  I stand back… enjoy the colors… the wonderful warmth the Christmas spirit brings… and reflect on a great Christmas memory… the KISN Christmas Tree.

If you were a boomer and grew up in Portland, Oregon… you know about this Christmas Tree.

KISN was an AM radio station based in Portland, Oregon, that broadcast on 910 kHz.  KISN 91 Wonderful.

The station was owned by another station KVAN, a country and western station in the early 1950s. Willie Nelson was one of the DJs. He financed his own first single, “No Place For Me.

During the 1960’s and early 1970’s, KISN was not only the number one rated rock station in the market, but at times also rated as Portland’s most popular radio station.  KISN started broadcasting at 6 a.m. on May 1, 1959.  Within one year after beginning operations, it was Portland’s top rated station and at one time held an amazing 86% of the audience.

My Christmas reflection comes from the unique KISN Carol Tree, whose red, blue, and green bulbs flashed to the music being played on the station.  As kids we would drive out to the tree… sit listen and watch… a wonderful service provided by the station… a Christmas treat for kids that is remembered by me every Christmas.

Yet despite its popularity, KISN had numerous problems with the Federal Communications Commission over the years and in 1970, the FCC refused to renew its  broadcast license, citing political partisanship in the U.S. Senate campaign of Mark Hatfield on KISN.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in May 1976.  The FCC denied KISN’s request to stay on the air, and the FCC was on hand to insure that KISN was taken off the air at the end of September 2, 1976, going so far as to require that the station broadcast their final program directly from the transmitter site.

After evening air personality Dave “Records” Stone said “Good night from the KISN Good Guys”, the station was not even allowed to complete its last song, the Supremes “Someday We’ll Be Together”, going silent at 12:01 AM PDT.

I do not recall any public protests at the time… hardly a whimper when KISN was shut… so I wonder… who has greater freedom of the press… Ecuador or the US?

Offering more freedom than in America may not be a lot. The US people of the US have lost many freedoms… as have the British.. the Germans… the Japanese and the people of many other nations.

Less privacy and hence diminished freedom is a trade off.   The great gifts we gain from technology allows us to know more about the foibles of our governments.  In turn, they get to know more about us.

What balance this brings… it is hard to tell.   History suggests that everything keeps getting better so during this wonderful holiday… let’s enjoy the gift…  set aside the bother… and know that eventually the turmoil we may feel will bring us something good.

Tension between governments and the media is not something new. Protests from the tension is not either.

In Ecuador the people may be demonstrating.  If so, I’ll bet they will do it peacefully.  The Ecuadorian gentle manner is one of the great things Merri and I love most about Ecuador.

This is what Christmas is about… a message of renewal in change and of the infinite power of peace on earth and goodwill to all men.

Merri and I send our best wishes to you for happy holidays.

Gary

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