Paraguayan journalists demand better labor rights, an end to impunity

On Thursday, April 26, Paraguayan journalists gathered to demand better labor rights, the end of impunity, better quality of information, and more plurality among news media in the country, reported the Paraguayan Union of Journalists.

This date, Paraguay's Day of the Journalist, is also the date when journalist Santiago Leguizamón was killed by hit-men in 1991, a case that remains unpunished and that "tried to silence the press," reported the newspaper ABC Color.

Although Paraguay had only one journalist killed in 2011, the country fell 26 places to number 80 in the most recent World Press Freedom Index for 2011-2012 published by Reporters Without Borders. The drop in ranking was due mostly to the large number of defamation lawsuits against journalists and news media, as well as many attacks and threats, and the lack of a public information access law, according to the report of Reporters Without Borders.

Despite this, compared with other Latin American countries, Paraguay at least doesn't have a president that constantly attacks the press, such as Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Cristina Kirchner in Argentina, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, or Evo Morales in Bolivia. A report by the Inter American Press Association recently criticized the administrations of these presidents for being arbitrary, intolerant, and for hindering the press.

Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo said that it is much better to have an opposition press that helps construct the necessary self-criticism to amend the administration's mistakes, than to have a friendly press that will hide these mistakes, reported the newspaper Última Hora. Lugo also said that his administration would not lift a finger trying to “silence opposing views,” added the news site Paraguay.com.