Congress rejects presidential veto and ratifies bill restricting community radio stations in Paraguay

The Paraguayan Congress has ratified a controversial bill that imposes restrictions on community radio stations, rejecting President Fernando Lugo's veto, according to the news agency EFE.

Despite the presidential veto, the bill that changes Paraguay's Telecommunications Law by limiting the signals of community radio stations and prohibiting them from broadcasting advertising is being sent back to the president for his approval.

Stations that don't comply with the new legislation will be considered "pirate" stations in open and unfair competition with commercial stations, according to those that support the measure, reported Ultimahora.com. Community radio stations can be subjected to heavy fines, and even have their equipment seized, said PPN.com

The bill has been criticized by the Journalists Union of Paraguay as being arbitrary. The Association of Community Radios and alternative media outlets in Paraguay on Wednesday said that the bill violates freedom of expression, and, far from strengthening democracy, in fact will wound it deeply, according to Prensa Latina.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.