Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 15
Political Influences: 22
Economic Pressures: 17
Total Score: 54

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 71
Religious Groups: Roman Catholic (90 percent), other [including Mennonite and Protestant] (5 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Mestizo (95 percent), other [including Amerindian and white] (5 percent)
Capital: Asuncion

The Colorado Party has governed Paraguay for 56 years, including a 35-year dictatorship led by General Alfred Stroessner; Transparency International consistently ranks the country as the most corrupt in Latin America. Given such a political and economic environment, media ownership is highly concentrated and is heavily tied to the Colorado Party or business interests. Although the constitution provides for freedom of press and speech, investigative journalists often face considerable intimidation, especially when covering corruption or other criminal activity. Several reporters received death threats during the year. Legal pressures are also used to intimidate the press. Defamation and libel laws can be applied rather erratically and plaintiffs often receive a favorable ruling if they agree to share the settlement with the judge. Nonetheless, a diversity of views is present; most citizens rely on privately owned community radio stations. In 2001, the government repealed a restrictive transparency in government law, which sought to place hurdles to access to public information for investigative journalists, after it received severe domestic and international criticism. In its place, civil society organizations proposed a free access to public information law, which was debated in congress in early 2003. Press freedom advocates expect vague modifications that will further allow the government to hinder access to public information, such as Law 1628, which prohibits making public "sensitive" information about people and their assets, although the law does stipulate that it will not apply to journalistic work.

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