The death of journalist Humberto Coronel must be fully investigated by the Paraguayan authorities and all lines of enquiry exhausted, including not dismissing his work as a motive for the crime. Every threat and murder against reporters is a serious blow to democracy, PEN International said today.
On 6 September 2022, journalist Humberto Coronel was shot by a man as he left the offices of Radio Amambay, where he worked, in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, Amambay department, near the border with Brazil. This is one of the areas where most deadly attacks against journalists have occurred in recent decades.
"We are horrified to see that the numbers of journalists murdered in Latin America is sharply on the rise, and now it sadly extends to Paraguay. The work of investigative reporters is crucial in exposing corruption and holding leaders to account. We demand that the brutal murder of Humberto Coronel is fully investigated and those responsible are swiftly brought to justice." said Romana Cacchioli, Executive Director of PEN International.
According to public reports, journalist Humberto Coronel had been receiving threats since June this year and should have been protected, yet he was offered no protection and was murdered in broad daylight.
"PEN Paraguay deeply regrets and condemns the criminal attack in which journalist Humberto Coronel lost his life while exercising his right to freedom of expression. We demand the speedy clarification of the case and effective protection for those who exercise their right to free expression in their daily work," said María Eugenia Ayala, President of PEN Paraguay.
Coronel wrote for the news website Mbykymi Noticias and hosted a radio news programme. In his journalistic work he denounced cases of corruption and impunity within the local police force.
PEN International and PEN Paraguay urgently call on the Paraguayan authorities to immediately and impartially investigate the crime and bring those responsible to justice. The authorities should provide effective protection for its journalists throughout the country, especially in Pedro Juan Caballero, as a means of ensuring the full exercise of freedom of expression and information.