Political Cartoon in Ecuador

Exploring a chilling-effect after the sanction against ‘Bonil’ and El Universo


  • David Vásquez León Universidad San Francisco de Quito




political cartoon, chilling-effect, freedom of speech, Ecuador, newspaper


Cartoonist Xavier Bonilla and El Universo newspaper were sanctioned in 2014 after publishing a cartoon which, according to the sanction, motivated social agitation and was inaccurate. Against a backdrop of continuous friction between Rafael Correa’s government and private media in Ecuador, the text examines if the sanction created an environment of fear or self-censorship (chilling effect) in other cartoonists in Ecuador. For the analysis, 81 cartoons from three newspapers were monitored and analyzed during the month following the February 23th elections in Ecuador, in which the results were not as favorable for the government as in several previous elections. The results the paper shows signal there is no chilling-effect influencing how cartoonists draw cartoons or how they choose what to draw. On the other hand, it evidences that El Telégrafo, tough a public newspaper, eschews publishing cartoons portraying Correa or members of the majoritarian political party in Ecuador, Alianza País.

Author Biography

David Vásquez León, Universidad San Francisco de Quito

David Vásquez León, 25, is a graduate who received his bachelor in “International Relations” at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador, in 2014. He wrote his Bachelor Thesis on State's Compliance to Human Rights Regimes, focusing on the case of Myanmar. He currently works as a Young Leader for Enseña Ecuador, a Non-Governmental Organization which develops innovative educational programs in alliance with Teach For All. He is currently Editor in Chief of Encuentro Latinoamericano, the Journal of Political Science of the International Association of Political Science Students (IAPSS) which focuses on Latin America. His research interests include freedom of speech, human rights, peace-building and education.




How to Cite

Vásquez León, D. (2014). Political Cartoon in Ecuador: Exploring a chilling-effect after the sanction against ‘Bonil’ and El Universo. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 25, 95–119. https://doi.org/10.22151/politikon.25.6