Paraguayan Politician Seeks to Ban Discussion of Gay Issues in Primetime

by Kilian Melloy
Friday Sep 10, 2010

The president of the city council in Asunción, Paraguay, has suggested that local media outlets be censored and prevented from making mention of gays during prime time.

Referring to LGBTs as "these people" and expressing his "concern" "as a father," Hugo Ramirez sought to restrict mention of gays during prime time hours on local media outlets, reported anti-gay religious site LifeSiteNews on Sept. 9. The report said Amnesty International--which the site dismissed as a "homosexualist organization"--had objected to Ramirez's plan, citing international treaties and Paraguay's own constitution.

"[A]s a father I express my concern over the focus given to the topic without taking into account the time," said Ramirez. "I propose that notices be sent to the media and other organizations for the purpose of preventing information that involve these people from continuing to receive so much space in the media."

LifeSiteNews called news reports reflecting events that impacted LGBTs a "growing obsession of the commercial media... with the abnormal sexual behavior of groups that constitute small minorities in society, which are constantly discussed, debated, and portrayed in various ways at all hours of the day." LifeSiteNews itself offers frequent posts on issues of note affecting the GLBT community, both domestically and internationally.

Amnesty International's local arm protested the move to muzzle the media, arguing that, "the right to liberty of expression, the right to not suffer discrimination for motives of sexual orientation, and the right to liberty of the press, are clearly established in international treaties, guaranteed by the Constitution."

Spanish language news site reported on the controversial proposal on Sept. 7.

"This is meant as a defense of the fundamental base of Paraguayan society--the family," the article quoted Ramirez as saying. "Right now, we feel that we have the support, and the solidarity, to move forward with this fight."

The proposed measure was hailed by the Federation of Pro-Family and Pro-Life Organizations, which indicated support for Ramirez. The coalition has a march against marriage equality planned for Oct. 2.

"We want a dad and a mom," said Ramirez. "Today I feel happy for the participation of these people who came to support an initiative that does not pretend to censor or violate the Constitution for one minute."

Meantime, the coalition maintained that Ramirez's proposal "is not a censorship of the press," saying that the proposal "only raised a citizen-generated directive [regarding] information within the scope of protection [of children] that, unfortunately, has not been respected."

Paraguay does not criminalize same-sex intimacy, but under the country's constitution no legal recognition is afforded same-sex families. A movement is underway to legalized same-sex marriage.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • Joseph, 2010-09-12 01:15:55

    Land locked of the mind, Why?

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