The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) pointed out that this 2022 has been marked by a “general climate of insecurity” in Paraguay, which it considers has been aggravated “by the collusion of the state apparatus with the drug trafficking mafias,” according to an approved report. this Sunday at its 78th General Assembly.
In the report on the situation of freedom of the press, the agency referred, among others, to the murders of journalist Humberto Coronel and mayor José Carlos Acevedo, both in the town of Pedro Juan Caballero, on the border with Brazil, and the prosecutor anti-mafia Marcelo Pecci, victim of an attack on a Colombian island.
Coronel, who covered corruption and organized crime, was assassinated last September as he was leaving the radio station Radio Amambay 570 AM, owned by the family of José Carlos Acevedo, who, according to the IAPA, was assassinated in May “in retaliation for his public confrontation with organized crime.
The report warns that data from the Observatory on Violence against Journalists account for the murder of 20 journalists in the last 30 years in Paraguay since the communicator Santiago Leguizamón was killed in 1991, also in Pedro Juan Caballero.
The IAPA also mentioned the death last May, at the hands of hitmen in Colombia, of Pecci, delegate prosecutor of the Specialized Unit for the Fight Against Organized Crime, as “an event that shocked the country.”
“The links of drug trafficking and its ramifications with the powers of the State and important sectors of the political class, for crimes of money laundering and smuggling, seem to be supported in this period by indications of corruption in the state apparatus that came to light by investigations. and requests for reports to the Chamber of Senators on former President Horacio Cartes and to the Central Bank of Paraguay,” the document added.
He also alludes to the US decision to include former president Cartes (2013-2018) and the country’s vice president, Hugo Velázquez, on its list of corrupt.
In a review of the cases that have affected journalists, the IAPA explained that last July the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice confirmed the innocence of journalist Édgar Chilavert in a case of sexual abuse of children.
That same month, a sentencing judge declared the criminal action to be extinguished and the dismissal of journalist Carlos Giménez, from the newspaper La Nación, in a lawsuit for defamation, slander and libel.
Also in July, the Third Chamber of the Court of Criminal Appeal ratified the sentence of one year and nine months of suspended prison sentence handed down last January against journalist Marcos Velázquez.
In August, the Public Ministry announced the imputation for the punishable acts of sexual harassment, sexual coercion and coercion against the journalist Carlos Granada -against whom there is an arrest warrant-, after “massive complaints” by workers of the Albavisión Group channels (SNT and C9N).
In September, a judge acquitted journalist Juan Carlos Lezcano and the director of the newspaper ABC Color, Natalia Zuccolillo, in a defamation complaint.
Finally, the IAPA revealed that the country’s first digital native media outlet, El Nacional, founded in August 2020, denounced “discrimination in the distribution of official advertising.”