The most relevant development in these six months was the decision of the National Congress to initiate, in line with what is stipulated in Article 225 of the Constitution, a political trial of then president Fernando Lugo. The proceedings wound up with the removal of the head of state due to bad conduct. While it was argued in some sectors that Lugo had little time to defend himself, he had submitted to political trial voluntarily; he defended himself through his legal representatives and he bowed to the result. In a televised message he said farewell and withdrew under his own power from the López Palace. Paraguayan Vice President Federico Franco assumed the Presidency. In general terms the news media freely carried out their role during this situation. On September 4, a group of twenty-seven employees of the Paraguay Public Television, who had staged political demonstrations in support of ousted former president Lugo, complained of having been the object of firings without due compliance with the legal requirement of prior notice. The Department of Information and Communication for Development (SICOM) argued that what was involved were cancellations of temporary work contracts that had been made with other organizations and which expired on August 31. The conflict erupted on June 22, when an envoy of new President Franco appeared at the offices of the Paraguay Public Television to request the channel’s program schedule. The authorities there, who were part of the previous administration, took this as an action restrictive of freedom of expression and launched a series of street demonstrations against the government under the slogan “Open Microphone” outside the state-owned TV station. In general, the main threats to freedom of expression, as had been occurring, are found in threatening lawsuits and other legal actions in which exponents of the political sector or those in power seek to intimidate journalists in their work. Major incidents Former model Zuni Castiñeira threatened ABC Color reporter Sandra López, against whom she had filed a lawsuit in court for alleged libel. On June 30, 2011 Judge Manuel Aguirre had acquitted López. The decision was appealed by Castiñeira. In a statement the former model said that the reporter would be convicted “sooner or later” and if this did not occur “something else is going to happen to her.” Former general Lino César Oviedo, chairman of the National Union of Ethical Citizens Party (UNACE) widened the lawsuit brought on March 30 against journalist Mina Feliciángeli of Radio 1000. She had called the former army officer “murderer” and later, during an interview at the court, accused him of being behind the assassination of former vice president Luis María Aragaña and the murder of nine young people who died amid those painful events that occurred in March 1999. In April, ABC Color reporter Walberto Caballero and the director of the EMPO company, Enrique Ortuoste, came to a conciliation agreement in a libel suit that each of them had filed. Ortuoste had accused the reporter of being a “hireling” of his competing company, El Farol, which was engaged in waste management. In early May, the self-styled insurgent group Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in a note threatened journalist Claudia Cazal de Zavala, who works at a radio station located in Concepción province in northern Paraguay. The note was left outside the home of Zavala, who had already received similar threats, one of them in a note delivered by a projectile in 2008. Judge Manuel Aguirre on June 20 put an end to a lawsuit brought against ABC Color editor Aldo Zuccolillo and Police Chief Gilberto Fleitas on a libel charge after accepting the waiver of complainant from Jean Claude Critón, made one day before the start of the trial. The French citizen was declared to be a litigant in bad faith and should pay all the costs of the case. Critón had claimed to have been offended by an item published on December 15, 2010 in which he was linked to the 1976-1983 repression by the Argentine dictatorship, and other criminal charges for fraud and crimes against humanity. At a meeting on August 13 with Paraguayan Attorney General Javier Díaz Verón, members of the Union of Radio Stations of Paraguay complained that many of the 1,200 “pirate” radio stations (those that do not have official authorization) which operate in Paraguay promote illegal acts, such as road closures, invasion of private property, revolts and various kinds of acts of intimidation of growers and ranchers. The organization asked the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the matter and that the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) intervene. The legal counsel of the Ciudad del Este Municipality, Braulio Duarte, threatened Vanguardia reporter Teresa Gavilán on August 28 that he would file a lawsuit against her over published reports having to do with the debts of the municipality, overseen by Sandra McLeod de Zacarías, the wife of a potential presidential candidate for the Colorado Party, Javier Zacarías. On September 21, San Lorenzo civil and commercial court judge Blanca Rojas banned the sale of the book La familia detrás de camaras (The Family Behind the Cameras) by Verónika de Wiens – wife of potential Senate candidate for the Colorado Party Arnoldo Wiens – after imposing an urgent precautionary measure requested by Silvia Cubas Gusinsky, the sister of murder victim Cecilia Cubas, daughter of former president Raúl Cubas Grau, kidnapped in 2004. The ruling was made due to the alleged testimony of a source of the author that supposedly involves the family of the former president in a case of trafficking in human organs. Also included in the book is a comment on the abduction of Cecilia Cubas which her family regards as offensive to her memory. On September 26, a correspondent of the MultiMedia Information Center in Misiones, Gabriel Benitez, formally complained to the Public Prosecutor’s Office of having received death threats from two unidentified persons in San Ignacio city, in Misiones province, 144 miles from Asunción. Benitez is also the host of a news program aired by a local radio station in which he denounces acts of corruption in the area. On October 4, radio station Guyrá Campana in the city of Horqueta, located in the department of Concepción (in the northern part of the country) was the object of an attack with explosives on the part of members of the self-named Paraguayan People’s Army. The attackers left a message at the site warning journalists and the press in general, whom they accuse of being “the main protagonists” in the “dirty campaign” which is carried out by the “government and its oligarch owners.” Later, members of the Paraguayan Association of Inland Radio Stations (APRI) met with the minister of the Secretariat of Information and Communications for Development (SICOM), Martín Sandman, to request security and assistance for the station that had been attacked. President Federico Franco threatened last October 4 to begin legal action against the newspaper ABC Color after publication of a series of articles that involved his wife, Deputy Emilia Alfaro, in presumed maneuvers and supposed interference in bidding for transportation services in the Binational Entity of Itaipú in an amount of some eighteen million dollars. “This matter is going to have to be resolved in the courts because it is very easy to talk of a person; the legal team is going to have to get into action,” expressed the leader during a press conference offered in the Government Palace.