19 November 2013 – ITF Americas regional secretary Antonio Fritz has spoken out to correct a number of erroneous and unchecked reports in the Paraguayan media. These attack the ITF-affiliated SOMUPA (Sindicato Obreros Maritimos Unidos del Paraguay) union.
Antonio Fritz commented: “We have noted that, once again, the Paraguayan media has published information that differs totally from reality.
“We consider that a serious media would ensure that the right to reply is given to any affected party; however we have verified with Paraguay’s SOMUPA union that such a right to reply not only has not been offered, but it also has been constantly denied. When the union has offered statements, their position has been either ignored or manipulated, the same situation has happened with ITF Paraguayan affiliated-federation Union Sindical de Trabajadores del Transporte USTT, to which SOMUPA is also affiliated. This is not compatible with a free and independent media.
“The information published in some Paraguayan newspapers on 14 November, on a supposed decision that it is claimed we had taken to reduce the size of Paraguayan inland navigation convoys, is incorrect, as has been the case with several other statements published in the past.
“We would have hoped that some efforts to verify information would be made by the Paraguayan media responsible. This would avoid the publication of utterly erroneous reports. This has not happened so far. We hope that from now on it will. We would also hope that any bodies suffering these attacks – as in this instance, which is a clear case of an ongoing and deliberate anti-union campaign – will be offered a proportionally equivalent right to reply that is a fundamental cornerstone of a responsible press.”