Digital rights organisation forced to censor post on gender-based violence
TEDIC, a not-for-profit organisation that develops civic-related technology and defends digital rights in Paraguay, was censored for publishing information on gender-based violence. In a recent post, TEDIC discussed the issue of gender-based violence on the internet in the country. The post included screenshots of a conversation on Facebook Messenger, during which a group of men chat about sexually abusing a journalist to "correct" her sexual orientation. The journalist obtained access to the conversation and published it on her Twitter account. TEDIC used this case as an example of the type of violent language used against women and the LGBTQI community.
One of the men involved in the conversation filed a lawsuit against the journalist and TEDIC, arguing that the post damaged his reputation and violated his privacy. The judge, Gizella Palumbo, agreed with the plaintiff. TEDIC was ordered to remove the screenshots and story. TEDIC and other media watchdogs consider the verdict in the case as setting a concerning precedent in local and global efforts to promote freedom of expression and combat gender-based violence. Organisations such as R3D (Mexico), Derechos Digitales (Chile), Fundación Karisma (Colombia), ADC (Argentina) and international organisations, such as Article 19, have expressed their support for TEDIC and its efforts to protect free expression in the country.
In addition to censoring independent media, the state uses advertising to manipulate public opinion. Vice-President, Juan Eudes Afara, offered state advertising to the owners of the more than 200 radio stations in the countryside in exchange for their reporting of news favourable to the government. The newspaper ABC Color reported on the meetings between the vice-president and the radio station owners. According to the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Edison Lanza, such actions on the part of the state are detrimental to freedom of expression in Paraguay.