Although the constitution supports basic press rights, the legal framework facilitates defamation and libel cases against the media.
Political officials often use criminal libel laws to suppress investigative journalism and encourage self-censorship. Aldo Zuccolillo, the managing director of the newspaper ABC Color, was cleared in two separate defamation cases in February and April, but he reportedly faced at least 20 other criminal charges at year’s end.
Politicians and other powerful actors have also used security forces and hired thugs to intimidate journalists. Police reportedly beat two journalists with the newspaper La Nacion during a June protest in Asuncion. Separately that month, radio reporter Miguel Angel Masi received death threats and was beaten on four occasions by unidentified attackers.
Journalists who denounce political corruption and the linkages between political power and illegal business typically suffer the brunt of the violence, particularly in the interior and border towns, where smuggling and drug trafficking are widespread.
Paraguay has a number of private broadcasting stations and three independent daily newspapers.
No cases of government restriction of the internet were reported in 2008, and nearly 8 percent of the population had internet access.