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Journalists Rosendo Duarte and William Aquino face defamation charges in two separate cases brought against them by local politicians

(SPP/IFEX) - The following is an abbreviated translation of a 26 March 2009 SPP statement:

The SPP condemns all attempts at silencing journalists by initiating legal action against them. Judge Wilfrido Peralta is currently in the process of sentencing Rosendo Duarte, a correspondent for the daily "ABC Color", for having published information about business transactions managed, either directly or indirectly, by local politicians in the city of Salto Guairá. In this case, the individual behind the legal action against Duarte is politician Marciano Godoy, of the National Republican Association - Colorado Party (Asociación Nacional Republicana - Partido Colorado, ANR-PC).

On 24 March 2009, the hearing into the defamation charges brought by Godoy against Duarte began. Judge Peralta rejected evidence presented by Duarte's defence team as well as the team's request for the charges to be withdrawn.

The SPP views these actions as a violation of the freedom of expression rights of journalists who investigate and denounce corruption.

In a separate case, journalist William Aquino, a correspondent for the daily "ABC", in Ayolas, is also facing defamation charges brought against him by another Colorado Party politician, Pablino Rodríguez. The case against Aquino is being handled in the juridiction of San Juan Bautista, presided over by Judge Oscar Talavera. Talavera has a hostile relationship with the journalist and does not want to withdraw from the case.

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