The Paraguayan press in this period has been the target of a number of verbal attacks on the part of the President and pro-government politicians, and reporters and correspondents have been attacked and threatened. The newspaper ABC Color has been the object of an intense campaign against it waged by a group describing itself as pro-government. As during the Stroessner dictatorship such a campaign was launched in December and is still continuing against ABC Color, using posters, drawings on T-shirts and the Internet. It is being waged by unnamed groups who say they support the government. Their slogan is “ABC miente” in Spanish and in Guaraní “ABC ijapu” (ABC lies) written in the same typeface as used on the paper’s front page. A blog has been produced with this same slogan which calls for people to join the “campaign” to generate “concern, questions, debates and discussions about why ABC lies, as that is the only way of taking so much power away from this man (Aldo Zuccolillo) that no one has ever voted for.” Similar tactics had been employed before the dictator Stroessner decided to shut ABC Color down. Illegal “community” radio stations have received help from the government through official advertising placed by the Itaipú and Yacyretá bi-national hydroelectric plants. The government has in addition, through the Information and Communication Development Ministry (SICOM), promoted the formation of “communication agents for development.” On this an ABC Color editorial on January 4 said that the government “needs to organize a system of controlled media to disseminate its ‘official truth’ in an obligatory hookup” for which President Lugo was promoting from SICOM “the formation of ‘communication agents for development’ that will be nothing less than people instructed to head the ‘community radio stations’ which will receive instructions from the government rather than the communities giving them….” It added that “the step the government is now taking to impose the totalitarian model of the socialism of the 21st century is – through Conatel – to put the clandestine radio stations on the same level as the lawful ones, giving them legal status and financial support through small – for now – official advertising using Itaipú and Yacyretá funds, with which the swarm of ‘community radios’ – about 120 – in order to survive will have convert themselves into ‘the government’s ‘friendly press’.” Other relevant developments during this period have been: On November 27 President Lugo criticized what he called “the banal agenda of the media,” charging that in it they “have set up absolutely banal events, confrontations of a partisan political stripe, accusations, intrigues, political antagonisms.” For his part, National Emergency Minister Camilo Soares accused ABC Color of being a “Fascist pamphlet.” The Defense Ministry’s Department of Legal Affairs sought to silence the ABC Color correspondent in Villa Hayes, Cirilo Ibarra. In a communiqué in December Military Justice Major Gustavo Dávalos Insfrán threatened to take legal action against him if he continued reporting about a garbage dump on Defense Ministry property leased to a private company for the purpose. On December 30, a one-judge court presided over by Judge Elsa García acquitted ABC Color correspondent Rosendo Duarte of a charge brought by a politician belonging to the Colorado Party in Salto del Guiará, Marciano Godoy, who wanted to silence an investigation that exposed his influence in the area. He had sought to have Duarte fined and be given a two-year prison sentence. On January 3, 2010 the correspondent of La Nación and Crónica in San Pedro province was brutally beaten up by a mob of presumed drunkards, among whom was the traffic director of the municipality of Capiibary and the son of a local council member. The journalist had stopped at a gas station to fill up and when he noticed a fight that was developing he began to take photos, for which he was beaten up. Some days later he reported that he had received new threats from people taking part in the melee. On January 9, Sergio Escobar Rober, the ABC Color correspondent in San Estanisalo, also in San Pedro province, reported that he had received a number of anonymous death threats in text messages. The harassment began after publication of reports of people’s reaction to the naming of officer Virginia Villar as police chief in Guayaiby, she being said to have been involved in innumerable cases of torture. Villar was later relieved of her post. On January 17, reporter Secundino Silguero Rodas, with Panambí Vera radio station in Villarica, Guiará province, and correspondent of Asuncíon newspapers La Nación and Crónica, was attacked by unidentified assailants who shot at his car as it was parked outside his home. Two days later shots were fired at his house. He been reporting on two murders involving two National Police officers. On January 18, the ABC Color correspondent in Caazapá, Antonio Caballero, was the object of threats made over his mobile phone believed to have been sent by a female judge upset over some reports he had done. On January 25, bodyguards of the governor of Alto Paraná province, Nelson Aguinagalde, threatened Fermín Jara, a reporter for Vanguardia in Ciudad del Este and correspondent of ABC Color, who had gone to the local cathedral to work with photographer Eduardo Homero, in charge of taking some photos of vandalism carried out by officials of the local government while in a drunken state and heavily armed. The journalists were later intercepted by vehicles belonging to the local government and threatened by an assailant brandishing a firearm. On February 13, two motorcyclists armed with a rifle and a revolver intercepted the ABC Color correspondent in San Pedro, Cristino Peralta, in the Nueva Germania area. He was traveling in a double-cabin pickup truck bearing the newspaper’s logo when he was approached by two men each on a motorcycle without license plates or lights. He managed to take refuge in a police station and the assailants fled. On February 27, San Pedro Governor José Ledesma, in a surprising statement, told the local ABC Color correspondent, Cristino Peralta, who works accompanied by police bodyguards because of having received threats, that he could never have 100% security because of police corruption. On March 2, members of the National Police Specialized Unit attacked ABC Color correspondent Higinio Ruiz Díaz, who was covering a clash between two communities in a neighborhood of J. Augusto Saldivar township in Central province. One of the police officers hit him with his shield while another pointed his rifle at him and threatened to shoot if he took photos of the incident. The policeman also threatened to set fire to his car, even going so far as to say several times that “it ‘s no big thing to kill a journalist.”