Threats and attacks on journalists and community radio stations are frequent in Paraguay. In some cases, journalists have been murdered. Criminal organisations and local officials instigate these attacks, and benefit from a marked climate of impunity.
Online media have been expanding recently, but the media landscape remains heavily concentrated in three big media companies: Vierci, Albavisión, and Cartes. Community media are struggling to survive. The leading newspapers are ABC Color, La Nación and Última Hora.
The April 22, 2018 presidential election ended in victory for Mario Abdo Benítez of the Colorado party, which has been in power since 1947 (except from 2008 to 2013), but is now weakened and divided. At the local level, the political class is the source of pressure on the critical press.
Paraguay’s constitution and laws guarantee journalistic freedom. Alternative and digital media enjoy a favourable environment in which to develop, and transparency and access to information are guaranteed by Law No. 5282/14.
Although Paraguay is among South America’s poorest countries, it has experienced high and steady growth over the past decade, with an economy that is the most open among Mercosur countries. The major sectors are agribusiness, informal economy, and trade with Brazil and Argentina.
The border regions with Argentina and Brazil, where drug trafficking and corruption are rampant, are especially dangerous for reporters. Journalists who report there may pay with their lives, as was the case of Brazilian journalist Léo Veras in February 2020 and Paraguayan journalist Humberto Andrés Coronel Godoy in September 2022. Both were murdered in Pedro Juan Caballero, a city on the Brazilian border that is a regional drug trafficking hub. Reporters are often the targets of violence during protests. Most attacks on journalists go unpunished.