Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
- The law protects freedom of the press, but journalists were subjected to some government harassment in 2009. While President Fernando Lugo defends press freedom, he frequently criticizes private media for failing to support him.
- With criminal libel laws still in place, journalists continue to be harassed by authorities. A progovernment group launched verbal attacks against the newspaper ABC Color in 2009, using the slogan “ABC lies.” The newspaper’s managing director, Aldo Zuccolillo, was the target of at least 20 criminal charges stemming from defamation suits. In addition, Military Justice Major Gustavo Davalos Insfran threatened to take legal action against an ABC Color correspondent in Villa Hayes, Cirilo Ibarra, for reporting about a garbage dump on land owned by the Defense Ministry.
- Journalists were subject to physical harassment, intimidation, and violence due to their reporting. In January 2009, Martin Ocampos Paez, director of a community radio station, was killed at his home in Concepcion after commenting on the complicity of the police and local officials with drug trafficking. In February, prison guards assaulted Channel 13 journalist Richard Villasboa and camera operator Blas Salcedo after they attempted to report on a penitentiary. Also that month, journalist Aldo Lezcano received a death threat after reporting on a veterans’ group. In September, journalist Javier Nunez was shot as he photographed individuals stealing fuel from the state oil company.
- Most major newspapers, television stations, and radio stations are privately owned. The government owns and operates a public radio broadcaster, Radio Nacional del Paraguay. A government news agency called IPParaguaywas launched in January 2009 as part of Lugo’s plan to expand the state media, particularly in the broadcast sector.
- Distribution of official advertising is a major concern. ABC Color reported that the government had purchased ads on 51 community radio stations, which are not allowed to air commercials, and only three of which are operating with the proper permits. The communications minister acknowledged government support for several broadcasters that were in the process of getting permits, and claimed that such advertising amounted to less than US$100 a month per station.
- About 15 percent of the population uses the internet, which is unrestricted.