Press union in Paraguay repudiates threats from president's brother

The Paraguayan Journalists' Syndicate (SPP in Spanish) repudiated the intimidation and attack on two journalists by President Federico Franco and his brother, reported the website Crónica Viva. The SPP demanded respect for the work of their colleagues and said the president was responsible for the security of the journalists at future public events, according to the group's website.

According to La Nación, the newspaper the journalists worked for, Julio César Franco, senator and brother of the president, threatened to sue reporter Nilza Ferreira if she published a payroll detailing the members of the Franco family employed by the government.

After publication of the article on Sunday, Sept. 16, journalist Ana Antúnez was shoved by President Franco's bodyguards when she asked the leader for comment on the lawsuit, reported the website Ea. In a press conference on Monday, Sept. 17, President Franco accused Antúnez of being rude and profane to deflect attention from the event, added the website.

President Franco's administration has become known for trampling the public and alternative press in Paraguay since taking office in June 2012. In August, journalists at the Paraguay Resists Social Forum denounced the president's media policies, including the firing of 27 journalists from the state-run Televisión Pública, allegedly for ideological reasons.

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.