5 February 1998


Order to close Paraguay radio station suspended

Incident details

legal action

(AMARC/IFEX) - According to Agencia Infomativa Pulsar (IAP), the National
Telecommunications Commission's (CNT) decision of 2 February 1998, which had
ordered "Radio Uno" radio station closed, was suspended by President Juan
Carlos Wasmosy. The closing had been ordered after CNT members received
information about a comedy programme, produced by journalist Juan Pestoriza,
which stated that Paraguay had experienced a coup d'etat.

The Paraguayan army and air force had mobilized troops in anticipation of an
order, by a civil judge, freeing General Lino Oviedo, who had been detained
by the Military Tribunal following accusations that he had attempted a coup
d'etat in 1996. After becoming aware of the mobilization of the troops,
Juan Pastoriza produced a short segment in which it was delcared that there
had been a coup d'etat. The segment was played on 1 February 1998 and the
CNT's decision to close the station was made on 2 February 1998, and took
effect immediately.

`Radio Uno' station is known for its support of General Oviedo's candidacy
as well as for its critical stance toward President Wasmosy.

According to the Paraguay Journalists Union (SPP), the decision to close the
station was dictatorial and reminiscent of the era of former Paraguayan
leader Alfredo Stroessner. Its representatives state that Juan Pastoriza
may have made the error of neglecting to announce that his segment was a
comedy and was fictitious. If he violated any laws, he should be judged by
a court of justice, but the closing of the station should never be ordered,
according to SSP. They affirmed that articles 26 and 27 of the Paraguayan
Constitution, speaking to respect for freedom of the press and freedom of
expression, had been violated.


World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
705, rue Bourget, bureau 100
Montreal, Quebec H4C 2M6
secgen (@) si.amarc.org
Fax:+1 514 849 7129

IFEX members working in this country 1

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