The status of press freedom in Paraguay must be viewed within the context of a historic electoral process. After 61 years in power, the Colorado Party was ousted by an alliance of political parties and social movements. In the months leading up to April’s general elections, the Colorado-controlled government waged an all-out war on the media. Former President Nicanor Duarte Frutos personally led a campaign to insult and discredit newspapers and television and radio stations, using adjectives such as “middling,” “totalitarian,” “venal,” “delirious,” and “unscrupulous.” These attacks on journalists and media owners were the response of the dominant wing of the Colorado Party to the electoral defeat, which was predicted by opinion polls and preceded by published reports of corruption involving government officials, including the president himself in allegations that he spent government funds on the election campaign. The April 20 elections created a power vacuum that lasted until August 15, when Fernando Lugo became the new president of Paraguay. During nearly four months of non-government, projects and government offices were at a standstill and all legislative work was on hold, while Colorado Party officials tried to salvage their posts or hide evidence of fraud or embezzlement. Meanwhile, the new administration was unskilled, disunited, and overwhelmed by the task of taking the reins of government amid so much dissent. Lugo has been in power for less than two months. There are some positive signs, such as his assurance that he will not seek legislation curtailing press freedom. He also called together media owners and journalists to pitch his communications-related projects. And he elevated the Department of Communications to the ministerial level, in order to organize information and to ensure that “not even a pin can drop without the media knowing about it.” However, the press has experienced difficulties with some key government agencies, such as the Foreign Ministry and the National Emergency Department. Political issues aside, journalists face additional challenges in the judicial branch and from organized crime, especially in the region bordering Brazil and Argentina. In April, President Duarte Frutos said he did not care about the IAPA’s criticism of his administration. He accused the press of being “completely biased, manipulated, money-oriented, dishonest, middling, and politicking.” He continued: “That’s the totalitarian, absolutist way of journalists. They always try to make their opinion out to be that of the entire county. That is tyranny; that is conceit; that really is arrogance. They tell lots of lies, and they don’t even have the decency to take them back; it’s truly despicable.” Duarte Frutos called the daily ABC Color “masochistic” and accused it of “wanting more poverty for Paraguay.” He said, “That newspaper wants Paraguay to be destroyed; it wants Paraguayans to lose their self-esteem.” Duarte Frutos claimed there is a media conspiracy against the Colorado Party, and that media owners cannot conceal their “delirious hatred” toward his party. “The press is totalitarian and unscrupulous,” he said, “and the owners manipulate journalists who are middling and venal.” The president accused ABC Color editor Aldo Zucolillo of giving five billion guaranis (more than US$1 million) to Lugo’s campaign. Electoral judge Reinaldo Poletti ordered that pre-election voter polls (all of which were unfavorable to the Colorado Party) be removed from the Internet, in a clear case of ignorance of the law. The elected government announced the end of “self-promoting advertising” by the government. In June, Lugo said he was bothered by “the dictatorship of the press,” referring to journalists asking him to comment on the resignation of his nephew from his appointed position at the Yacyretá hydroelectric dam. Antonio Caballero, the ABC Color correspondent in San Juan Nepomuceno, was released on bail after being charged in a bizarre extortion case. This journalist is being charged on behalf of environmental prosecutor Vidal Sánchez, who had been called into question in a number of Caballero’s stories. In August, bodyguards of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez prevented the press from covering a public event at the railway station in Asunción. President Chávez and his Ecuadorean counterpart, Rafael Correa, used the occasion to attack the press and accuse it of lying. The Venezuelan foreign minister called a Paraguayan radio journalist a “mercenary of lies.”