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Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Paraguay

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 2008
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Paraguay, February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c567925.html [accessed 22 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

CPJ sent a letter to President Nicanor Duarte Frutos on February 8, expressing concern over the fate of Enrique Galeano, host of a morning news and music program on the Horqueta-based Radio Azotey who disappeared on the afternoon of February 4, 2006, while on his way home from work in the central province of Concepción. Galeano resurfaced in the Brazilian city of São Paulo on July 14, after Paraguayan journalists discovered his whereabouts, according to press reports. Galeano said two unidentified men had kidnapped him, taken him to Brazil, and told him to keep silent or his family would be killed. His captors did not specify their motive, but Galeano said he had received several anonymous death threats after reporting on links between the local government and drug traffickers. Shortly after his reappearance, Galeano relocated to Uruguay, where he requested political asylum, said Vicente Páez, secretary-general of the journalists union Sindicato de Periodistas de Paraguay.

Oscar Bogado Silva, correspondent for the Asunción-based daily Última Hora, told CPJ that he received repeated telephone threats after reporting on local corruption and marijuana production along Paraguay's southern border. On April 18, a car followed the reporter from his house to his wife's office and back, Bogado told CPJ. Anonymous callers later mentioned details about his routine. According to the journalist, on April 24, unidentified individuals broke into his home in the southern city of Encarnación and left all the windows and doors open. A day later, Bogado said, he received a call from an unidentified individual, warning him that he was being watched.

Tito Alberto Palma, a reporter for the local radio station Radio Mayor Otaño and correspondent for the Asunción-based Radio Chaco Boreal, was gunned down on the night of August 22 as he was having dinner at a friend's home in the southeastern city of Mayor Otaño, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. A Chilean national, Palma often denounced organized crime, illegal smuggling of gas, and local government corruption in the province of Itapúa, a colleague at Radio Chaco Boreal, Erico González, told CPJ. Palma had also reported recently on the existence of illegal radio stations in the area. González told CPJ the reporter had received death threats, which had intensified a month prior to his death. A week before the murder, Palma announced on the air that he was returning to Chile because of the threats. González told CPJ that Palma's colleagues believe he was murdered in retaliation for his work.


Journalists killed in 2007 in Paraguay

Tito Alberto Palma, Radio Mayor Otaño and Radio Chaco Boreal
August 22, 2007, Mayor Otaño

Palma, a reporter for the local radio station Radio Mayor Otaño and correspondent for the Asunción-based Radio Chaco Boreal, was having dinner at his girlfriend's home when two armed individuals in camouflage broke in at 10:40 p.m., according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Without saying a word, the two assailants began to fire their weapons, the owner of the house, Aparicio Martínez, told local reporters. Palma was shot in the head, neck, arms, and legs, Vicente Paéz, secretary-general of the Paraguayan Journalists Union, told CPJ. Palma's companion, Wilma Martínez, was wounded in the leg, according to local press reports.

Palma, 48, a Chilean national, often denounced organized crime, illegal smuggling of gas, and local government corruption in the southeastern province of Itapúa, a colleague at Radio Chaco Boreal, Erico González, told CPJ. Palma had also reported recently on the existence of illegal radio stations in Mayor Otaño, a small city on Paraguay's border with Argentina, 285 miles (460 kilometers) from Asunción.

The reporter had received death threats for years, González told CPJ, with the anonymous calls intensifying in the month before the slaying. According to a September report from the Inter American Press Association, one of the last text messages Palma received on his cell phone said: "I've been hired to kill you, to make you travel, we'll see each other soon."

A week prior to his death, Palma announced on the air that he was returning to Chile because of the threats, Paéz told CPJ. Palma had lived in Paraguay since 1991. The reporter also declared he was planning to take information on the mafia that operates in Mayor Otaño to the national television station Telefuturo before he left the country, the Asunción-based daily ABC Color reported.

Colleagues told CPJ they believed Palma was killed in retaliation for his work. Nelson Ramos, the local prosecutor in charge of the case, said he believed it was a revenge killing based on his reporting.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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