Report - Mid-Year Meeting April 17 - 19, 2024

In this period, cases of judicial criminalization against journalistic practice were evident.

Several prosecutors and lawyers demanded the identity of the journalists who published information about former president Horacio Cartes. Their legal representative, Pedro Ovelar, declared that the journalists would be called to "account" before the Prosecutor's Office in a case where reporters denounced cigarette smuggling and money laundering.

In October, former President Carter, current president of the National Republican Association (ANR) party, expanded the complaint to the Public Ministry about alleged "political persecution in democracy" involving the press media. Prosecutors Aldo Cantero, Rodrigo Estigarribia, and Daniela Benítez asked to know the identity of the journalists from ABC Color and Última Hora who wrote articles related to Cartes, who claims to be a victim of false accusation, simulation of punishable acts, persecution of innocents, criminal association and usurpation of public functions since 2018, following the US government's accusation of corruption and the imposition of economic sanctions.

The Union of Journalists of Paraguay, the Society of Communicators of Paraguay, and the Association of Graphic Reporters of Paraguay denounced the possible misuse of Law 5777/16 "On the Protection of Women against All Forms of Violence" as a censorship tool. They expressed that the cases against journalists Mabel Portillo, Alfredo Guachiré, and Letizia Medina, among others, warn about the risk of using Criminal Law as a mechanism of intimidation and indirect censorship.

In October, journalist Vicente Godoy began asylum procedures abroad due to lack of State protection in the face of death threats after denouncing irregularities on the part of former mayor Jorge Emiliano Urbieta (ANR) and his brother, deputy Arturo Urbieta ( ANR). Godoy reported the threats in May to the Zonal Prosecutor's Office II of Horqueta, but in October, the State Attorney General, Emiliano Rolón, said he was unaware of the case.

In October, journalists Jorge Daniel Romero López and Hernán Victorio González Maya, from the Info Salto page and the El Debate program, from Radio 100.5 FM in Salto del Guairá, department of Canindeyú, were threatened with death by WhatsApp, for which they blamed to Mayor Héctor Morán (ANR-HC) and Gustavo Cuéllar, from his entourage.
In March, journalist Juan Alcaraz, from the SdG Noticias digital page in Salto del Guairá, Canindeyú, received a death threat via WhatsApp.

According to the journalist, it was retaliation for his publications regarding complaints about administrative mismanagement by councilors of Mayor Héctor Morán's (ANR-HC) administration.

In November, the Court of Criminal Appeals, Second Chamber, ratified the sentence of 180 days of fine to Juan Vera, president of the Association of Users and Consumers of Paraguay, who journalist Mercedes "Menchi" Barriocanal had sued for injury to The intimacy. In 2022, Barriocanal suffered a virtual harassment campaign promoted by Vera, who exposed his phone number on social networks and WhatsApp groups.

In December, journalist Éver Benegas of the group Nación Media was expelled from the outskirts of Congress by union members of the National Electricity Administration (Ande) who beat and pushed him while he was reporting on a bill creating the superintendence of retirements and pensions. Alexis Aveiro, a C9N reporter, was also attacked.

In December, the Villarrica journalist Mabel Portillo was censored for the second time by judicial means for her publications about the administration of Gloria Duarte (ANR-HC), mayor of Yataity, of Guairá, who filed a complaint against the journalist for violence against the woman and coercion.

In December, the State declared that the lack of access to information from Itaipú, denounced by the Society of Communicators of Paraguay, "does not characterize violations of rights" and asked the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to declare the petition inadmissible.

The Police and the Public Ministry have not yet carried out the analysis of the evidence of the murder of journalist Alex Álvarez (39), from Radio Urundey FM, shot to death on February 13, 2023, in Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay.

In March, Justice of the Peace Gustavo Villalba did not give rise to a complaint by Senator Norma Aquino against journalist Letizia Medina, of ABC Color, for violence against women for a video that satirized her. The magistrate alleged that humorous imitation is part of the political debate and freedom of the press and expression.