Aruba & Netherlands Antilles

ARUBA & NETHERLANDS ANTILLES The press in Aruba has been the subject of threats and other actions contrary to freedom of expression. The Council of Ministers prohibited all government offices from placing advertisements in three local newspapers, El Diario, Corant and La Prensa. In August, during the government party (MEP) convention, Prime Minister Nelson Orlando Oduber called for a national boycott of Diario de Aruba, which had been staging a campaign against alleged government corruption. Some weeks later, the Council of Ministers filed a libel suit against Diario de Aruba. The case was tried in a civil court, presided over by a Dutch judge, who ruled the charges were unfounded. As a result, seven government ministers launched verbal attacks against the judiciary. The only television station on the island, the government- owned Tele-Aruba, hurled insults at both the press and the courts. Anonymous telephoned threats and letters and insulting pamphlets were later received by Diario de Aruba.