Editor in Paraguay slammed with fine for criticizing court ruling

By Dean Graber

Businessman Aldo Zuccolillo, editor of the newspaper ABC Color, was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine plus interest to indemnify a judge who the newspaper had criticized for acquitting former President Luis González Macchi of embezzlement, ABC Color reports.

A judge's ruling affirms that ABC Color should have published that the decision in question was correct. It is said to be the first time that the North American concept of malice has been used in Paraguay, Última Hora says. The aggrieved judge, who had sought $250,000, said press freedom is not absolute and that the court had punished the newspaper for issuing a value judgement against him.

In a separate story, ABC Color, says the sentence means the press is not authorized to comment on news of importance in the country. The ruling can be appealed to higher courts, La Nación adds.

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.