1. On July 9,
1983, by order of the Ministry of the Interior, the "Radio Ñandutí"
station was ordered shut down for a period of 30 days.
2. On September
22, 1983, its program "SUPERONDA" was taken off the air and
the radio director, Mr. Humbero Rubin, was forbidden to take part in his
own programs. This measure remained in effect until November 10, 1983.
Subsequently, he was also forbidden, beginning on November 5, 1984, to
serve as announcer for any other radio programs.
3. On January 17,
1984, Mr. Humberto Rubin was summoned to appear before Mr. Angel
Barbosa, Director of the National Telecommunications Bureau (ANTELCO),
who warned him not to broadcast news about groups that were not
authentic, authorized political parties.
4. As of November
13, 1984, the police began a campaign requiring identification and
explanations from all persons wishing to visit the radio station.
5. By order of
ANTELCO, in Resolution No 1009 of August 9, 1985, the station was again
shut down, this time for a period of 10 days.
6. Mr. Humberto
Rubin was again detained on December 3, 1985, and remained in custody
for several hours at the Central Police Station in the capital, Asunción,
where he was warned by the Director of the Department of Public Order,
Carlos Schreirer, that, unless he changed his editorial position, he
would be expelled from the country.
7. The station was
shut down once more at the beginning of January 1986 for a period of 15
days, accused of having contributed to creating "social
8. In April 1986,
Mr. Humberto Rubin denounced the refusal of the police to provide him
with protection following repeated death threats made against him,
members of his immediate family and those working at his radio station.
Official spokesmen had earlier accused "Radio Ñandutí" of
being responsible for the street demonstrations that had occurred in
recent weeks in the capital. In the early morning of April 30 a crowd of
about 50 government sympathizers stoned the front of the station
building, firing weapons into the air and destroying almost all the
exterior window glass.
9. On May 3, 1986,
another group of about five persons, armed and hooded, attacked the
station, this time destroying its plant and broadcasting equipment, some
of which was stolen.
On May 5, 1986, the station's telephones were cut off, leaving it
After that date the station began to experience power failures
owing to "radio interference" that gradually became stronger
and more frequent until finally more than 90% of its broadcasts were
affected. It was also forbidden to broadcast information or comments
criticizing the government.
It has been alleged that the authorities have also been
pressuring a number of merchants in order to force them to withdraw
their support by canceling their commercials. For example, at the end of
May the official program "The Voice of Coloradism" (broadcast
network wide throughout the country from Monday to Saturday) had
announced the names of those advertising on Radio Ñandutí, some of
whom gave in to this "blackmail" and canceled their contracts.
The Director of Radio Ñandutí, Mr. Humberto Rubín, announced
publicly on January 14, 1987, the decision to suspend the station's
broadcasts because of the lack of guarantees by the Paraguayan
authorities whom he accused of not having shown any interest in or
willingness to solve the problems denounced. This had brought the
company to the verge of bankruptcy, making it financially impossible to
continue operations. For that reason, he declared it would cease
broadcasts for a period of three months, during which time he was
certain that justice would be done and it could enjoy the guarantees
needed to renew operations.
1. All of the
foregoing acts were denounced publicly and through the agencies
responsible for protecting human rights, particularly the several
competent national administrative and judicial organs.
administrative and judicial authorities, either through inaction or
ineffective actions, have in no case been able to identify, much less to
punish, those responsible for such attacks and arbitrariness; this has
placed the company in a legally defenseless position and bankrupted it,
forcing it into temporary closure.
3. Article IV of
the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man states that:
"Every person has the right to freedom of investigation, of
opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man stipulates in Article XIII
that "Every person has the right to take part in the cultural life
at the community..." and "has the right to work, under proper
conditions, and to follow his vocation freely" (Article XIV), in
addition to associating with others "to promote, exercise and
protect his legitimate interests of a political, economic,
...professional, labor union or other nature." (Article XXII).
5. Article XXIII
of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man establishes
the guarantee and usufruct of the right to property in the following
words: "Every person has a right to own such private property as
meets the essential need of decent living and helps to maintain the
dignity of the individual and of the home."
6. In the opinion
of the IACHR, with regard to freedom of the expression and dissemination
of ideas the provisions contained in Article 13 of the American
Convention on Human Rights are in any case definitive, maintaining that
the right of expression may not be restricted by indirect methods or
means, such as the abuse of Government or private controls over
newsprint, radio broadcasting frequencies, or equipment used in the
dissemination of information, or by any other means tending to impede
the communication and circulation of ideas and opinions.
7. In the view of
the Commission, freedom of the expression and dissemination of ideas is
one of the most solid guarantees of modern democracy; and on that basis
it has stipulated that freedom of the expression and dissemination of
ideas consists of the right to transmit facts and ideas by any means of
social communication; it also entitles every person to acquire
information without interference of any kind.
taking into account the foregoing background and by virtue of the
considerations outlined above,
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, RESOLVES:
1. To declare that
in the present case the Government of Paraguay has, by commission or
omission, violated particularly Articles IV and XXIII of the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man concerning freedom of the
expression and dissemination of ideas and the right to property.
2. To recommend
that the Government of Paraguay make an effective and exhaustive
investigation of the violations denounced and rigorously apply to those
responsible therefor the most severe sanctions established for the
purpose under the current penal code,
3. That the
Government equitably indemnifies the company and employees of Radio
Nandutí for such losses as they may have incurred as a result of the
shutdown caused by its bankruptcy owing in turn to the illegal
interference occurring recently on an on-going basis and until such time
as the station can renew its broadcasts in a normal and unrestricted
4. To communicate
this resolution to the Government of Paraguay and request it to report
to the Commission, within 60 days, on the measures it has adopted and
implemented to fulfill the provisions contained in this resolution.
5. To include
publication of this resolution in the IACHR 1986-87 Annual Report to the
General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), if,
within the 60 days cited above, the Government of Paraguay shall not
have carried out the recommendations formulated herein.