The latest six-month period began with violence. Members of the mounted unit of the National Police opened fire on the offices of ABC Color newspaper while they were pursuing a group of fleeing demonstrators. The shots destroyed the front door, and door fragments injured two newspaper employees.
The demonstrators were fleeing police after staging protests over a closed-door vote by a group of senators seeking a constitutional amendment to support the reelection of President Horacio Cartes.
After heavy public protests, Cartes gave up on the idea and, on April 26, the Chamber of Deputies rejected the proposed constitutional amendment.
All of this has exacerbated tensions between the government and the press. Numerous reports of pressures applied to the media raise questions about interference with freedom of expression. On top of this, Cartes blames the media for creating a socially tense climate, and Vice President Juan Afara said that owners of radio stations outside the capital would be compensated for broadcasting news favorable to the government and the proposed constitutional amendment.
Three years after the killing of ABC Color correspondent Pablo Medina and his assistant, Antonia Almada, the trial of former Ypejhú mayor Vilmar Acosta Marques, which had been scheduled to begin on October 16, was postponed by Judge Ramón Trinidad Zelaya, chief justice of the trial court. Under pressure from the press, the other members of the court rescheduled the start of the trial for October 23.
Other cases in this period:
At least 22 journalists and photographers were physically assaulted while covering protests outside the National Congress on Friday, March 31.
In April, journalists from the Telefé network of Argentina left the city of Pedro Juan Caballero after being threatened by drug traffickers on social media, in phone calls, and in videos sent to Cándido Figueredo, the ABC Color correspondent in the area, who was helping the foreign journalists investigate drug trafficking.
In May, Ramón Jiménez Gaona, minister of public works and communications, announced that he was suing Aldo Zuccolillo Moscarada, editor of ABC Color newspaper, for "nonpecuniary harm" he has suffered due to news stories on irregularities in the construction of a viaduct. ABC Color's coverage is consistent with the investigation by Spanish police on the involvement of Catalonian businessman Jordi Pujol Ferrusola in an international corruption scheme to arrange for rigged public contracts with governments of other countries.
In June, in Ciudad del Este, President Horacio Cartes accused television journalists Óscar Acosta and Menchi Barriocanal of "inciting violence" and said they should be behind bars for their coverage of incidents related to the reelection effort.
In June, Javier Zacarías Irún, leader of the Colorado Party in Alto Paraná, said that ABC Color should be tried in criminal court for the stories it has published on the attempt to seize government land for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Ciudad del Este, which exposed the assets of Zacarías Irún and his wife, Sandra McLeod de Zacarías, who is the current mayor of Ciudad del Este.
In July, 39-year-old Milciades Mailyn was released after serving 16 years of the 25-year sentence he received for the killing of journalist Salvador Medina, 27, on January 5, 2001, on a rural highway in the district of Capiibary, department of San Pedro, where the journalist had denounced the actions of organized crime on his radio show on Ñemity FM. Salvador Medina was the brother of Pablo Medina, an ABC Color correspondent who was killed in 2014.
In September, Senator Víctor Bogado (ANR) brought a lawsuit against Aldo Zuccolillo Moscarda, editor of ABC Color newspaper, claiming defamation and seeking 5.4 billion guaraníes, or about US$956,000, in damages. The senator had filed another lawsuit for the same reason last year.
ABC Color has published investigative stories on economic crimes by Senator Víctor Bogado and on the illicit enrichment of his alleged front man, Miguel Ángel Carballo, aka "the Golden Mechanic," who is accused by prosecutors of illegally collecting government wages.
In October, members of the Paraguayan Journalists Union (SPP) and independent journalists protested outside the offices of the National Institute of Rural and Land Development over threats issued by the head of the institute, Justo Pastor Cárdenas, against a journalist from ABC Color newspaper over an investigation into the official's increasing wealth.