78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain


This period has been marked by a general climate of insecurity - aggravated by the collusion of the state apparatus with drug trafficking mafias.

As a result, journalist Humberto Coronel - who was covering corruption and organized crime - was murdered in September as he was leaving Radio Amambay 570 AM, in Pedro Juan Caballero. The radio station is owned by the family of José Carlos Acevedo - murdered in May in retaliation for his public confrontation with organized crime.

According to statements by prosecutor Pablo Zarate - who is handling the case of the journalist's murder - investigations point to two-time felon Mauricio Recalde Argüello as the alleged hitman. In June, Coronel and Gustavo Báez - a colleague from Radio Amambay - had reported a written death threat against both of them to a police station in Pedro Juan Caballero.

As a result of Coronel's murder, Blas Lanzoni - head of the Senate Human Rights Commission - announced that the bill "For the protection of journalists and human rights defenders" will be considered.

Data from the Observatory on Violence against Journalists reveal that 20 journalists have been murdered in the last 30 years - since Santiago Leguizamón was killed in Pedro Juan Caballero in 1991.

In addition to José Carlos Acevedo Quevedo, the Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci was also murdered by hired killers in Colombia in May - a crime that shocked the country. Pecci was the assistant prosecutor for the Specialized Unit for the Fight against Organized Crime and led several important investigations against the mafia.

The nexus of drug trafficking with the powers of the State and important sectors of the political class - related to money laundering and smuggling - seemed to be bolstered in this period by indications of corruption in the state apparatus that surfaced as a result of investigations and petitions for information to Congress regarding former President Horacio Cartes and the Central Bank of Paraguay. In this context, the U.S. embassy labeled former president Cartes as "significantly corrupt" - a label also given by the U.S. government to Hugo Velázquez, the current vice-president.

In May, the Society of Journalists of Paraguay denounced to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the lack of transparency and compliance with the Law on Access to Public Information by the binational company Itaipu.

In July, the Criminal Branch of the Supreme Court of Justice ratified the innocence of journalist Édgar Chilavert - prosecuted for sexual abuse of children. The journalist had spent almost two years in pre-trial detention. He had investigated corruption cases in his city of Concepción.

In July, sentencing judge Olga Ruiz González declared the termination of the criminal case and the dismissal of journalist Carlos Giménez - of the newspaper La Nación - sued for defamation, libel and slander by Juan Rojas Cantero - president of the Association of Parents of the Orchestra of Recycled Instruments of Cateura - due to his publications on the orchestra's directors handling of financial and administrative matters.

In July, the Third Chamber of the Court of Criminal Appeals ratified the January sentence of journalist Marcos Velázquez to one year and nine months suspended imprisonment. The complaint was brought by Alejandro Domínguez - president of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) - over tweets by Velázquez questioning his management.

In July, César Palacios - director of the newspaper TN Press of Ciudad de Este - received death threats from an armed man wearing a ski-mask who recorded and sent him a video - that went viral - via WhatsApp.

In August, the Public Prosecutor's Office reported that journalist Carlos Granada was charged with sexual harassment, sexual coercion and coercion, after extensive complaints from female workers at Grupo Albavisión's channels (SNT and C9N). The journalist has a warrant for his arrest.

In September, an audio came out with the voice of a Catalan businessman claiming he ordered the deaths of journalist Pablo Gastón Ortiz - press chief of Visión Comunicaciones, of Villarrica - and Sussy Ramírez, the prosecutor investigating his case. Ortiz had already been threatened in July and, upon his complaint, the police assigned him a bodyguard for three weeks.

In September, Judge Juan Carlos Zarate acquitted journalist Juan Carlos Lezcano and Natalia Zuccolillo - director of ABC Color. Marta González - former Vice Minister of Taxation - had sued them for defamation over publications regarding an attempted land grab by her and her husband against a family in the department of Paraguarí.

El Nacional, the first native digital media in the country, denounced discrimination in the distribution of official advertising. El Nacional was created in August 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, with the purpose of contributing to the public debate with independent opinions and objective information, at a time when the country is politically polarized. The media seeks to provide society with a fresher, more current vision, giving young journalists the opportunity to express themselves.