Three years after coming to power, President Néstor Kirchner has shown that he still cannot adapt to an independent press. Different opinions, and even news that does not coincide with the official version, often end in confrontations. The press suffers the vicissitudes of a political culture that has not yet totally divested itself of certain features of authoritarianism. In this context, the press functions with freedom, but not without pressure. On some occasions there are indirect pressures, interference with communications, harmful direct comments or insinuations to the media outlets where journalists work. Another expression of this is the arbitrary placement of government advertising. Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner criticized the media during the session that discussed granting more power to the government’s chief of staff. She criticized the media as “an unelected opposition.” She said that politicians win election to their posts, and asked, “What elections did media executives win? Journalists criticize the government. They are an opposition that no one voted for.” For his part, President Kirchner singled out the critics, saying; “I feel sorry for some journalists. I recommend that they practice self-criticism, investigate, study more, stop lobbying. Rather than press freedom, it is domination by businesses. Cristina pointed out the truth to some journalists who act like a corporation, who defend each other, who do not even acknowledge their mistakes.” It seems paradoxical that the president asks journalists to be informed when the government does not hold press conferences or interviews, and has caused the freedom of information law to fail. The president also follows a double standard since he does not apply to state media what he demands of the private media. Programs that had been on the air for a long time were cancelled because they did not coincide with the government’s position. An example is the morning program “Desayuno” hosted by Víctor Hugo Morales on state-owned Channel 7. On September 28, President Nestor Kirchner mentioned a column written in 1978 in the daily Clarín, saying that it had been written by La Nación columnist Joaquín Morales Solá. The column described the former president of the militarty dictatorship Jorge Rafael Videla as having certain good qualities. Kirchner asked how could he write good things about Videla before and bad things now. Morales Solá said that he did not write the column and he did not have a byline at that time. At midnight, the columnist received two telephone calls threatening him and his family if he continued to criticize the president. Jorge Fontevecchia, president of Editorial Perfil, received an e-mail threatening physical harm to him and his children if he continued to criticize the government. These methods, which attempt to sow fear, discredit professionals, the media or political opponents and that use any argument, are increasing dangerously in an effort to misinform publica opinion. On October 2, the so-called Popualr United Front, an activist group that now supports the president, called a demonstration to defend Kirchner in front of the daily La Nación In Cordoba province, Governor José Manuel de la Sota again accused La Voz del Interior of opposing his work, of preventing him from governing and violating journalistic ethics. The governor said in August that he is considering making a report to the IAPA about a news story in the paper about a legal complaint brought by legislators supported by the mayor of the capital of Cordoba, Luis Juez, who opposes de la Sota, and which he given no opportunity to comment about. Horacio Possi, editor of the newspaper El Progreso of Mariano Acosta city, was threatened with death if he did not stop publishing information about municipal corruption. In June, the National Journalism Academy reported spying on the personal e-mails of several journalists, such as Bartolomé Mitre, editor of La Nación, Daniel Santoro, of Clarín, Luis Majul of Argentine television, and others. It also indicated that in Santa Cruz the radio program “Sèptimo día,” hosted by Héctor Barabino, Héctor López and Daniel Gatti, was cancelled by executives of radio station LU12 of Rio Gallegos after being broadcast for 10 years, because of a threat of losing government advertising. The investigation of spying on the e-mail accounts of politicians and journalists has not been defined. As in similar cases, this will come to nothing because there are neither specific penalties nor adequate techniques to investigate these offenses and adjudicate them. This gap in the law cannot be closed because there is no standard defining the monitoring of electronic correspondence as a crime. Some judges impose the same sentences as for interference with postal mail. Deputies who support La Nación are backing a bill to penalize interference with e-mail. They asked the Parliamentary Affairs Committee to take it up as an urgent matter. In Tucuman, where the Executive Branch has assumed special powers since the approval of the new constitution, it has continuing disputes with media outlets and institutions. The conflicts were aggravated when the news program on Channel 5 television of Enrique García Hamilton, editor of the daily La Gaceta of Tucuman, was cancelled. The annual report of Freedom House, an organization that promotes democracy, human rights and freedom in 194 countries, reported in April that Argentina had fallen from 41st place in 2005 to 45th in 2006 because of abuses, harassment and pressure on the press. In May, President Kirchner said the media should investigate a list from the State Information Office (SIDE) with the names of 200 journalists who received money during the administration of President de la Rúa. The Association of Argentine Journalism Organizations (ADEPA) responded that if these payments occurred, they should be investigated by the government because that would be a clear case of corruption. Argentina is one of the few countries that have no legal tool for obtaining information from government agencies. Last November, the controversial Rreedom of Information bill, which substantially restricted that right and did not respect constitutional norms and international law, was shelved. The country also does not have clear and specific legislation defining procedures and parameters of placing advertising to ensure a legal, transparent and fair system. Editorial Perfil, which publishes the magazine Noticias and the weekly Perfil, filed an appeal in court alleging that it had been discriminated against because it was excluded from government advertising. The appearance in August of a new resource, such as the trust fund set up by the weekly Perfil to oppose government discrimination, does not imply that the situation has gotten worse, but that a solution is still pending. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the lawsuit filed by the daily Rio Negro in 2003 against the Neuquén government, also for alleged discrimination in the placement of government advertising. The problem is also being debated in the Chamber of Deputies Communications and Computing Committee, which approved a request for a report from the Executive Branch explaining its criteria for the distribution of advertising. A very disturbing statement was made about the lawsuit filed by Diario Rio Negro in 2003 against the Neuquén government for discrimination in the placement of government advertising. The paper had reported alleged attempts of bribery by Neuquén officials, including the governor. In September the attoney general, Esteban Righi, said, “the case should be rejected” because “there are no regulations for the courts to regulate” advertising. The Chamber of Deputies Communications and Computing Committee, approved a request for a report from Executive Branch explaining its criteria for the distribution of advertising. Also, the dailies El Territorio and La Opinión of Posadas, Misiones, do not get advertising from the provincial government because they opposed an amendment to the constitution proposed by the governor, Carlos Rovira that would allow him to be reelected almost indefinitely. In a report that was made public in June, the nongovernmental organization Citizen Power (Poder Ciudadano) said there are no objective criteria for the distribution or the increased expense for government advertising in comparison with the amount set in the 2005 budget. Limits are also being placed on news photographs. A court in Rio Negro sentenced a newspaper in the province to pay damages to a prosecutor for publishing a photograph of him taken during a demonstration in July 1998. The case sets a very serious precedent and is harmful to press freedom, because it prohibits the publication of photographs of public officials taken while they are doing their work in public places. Another court decision renews the debate over press freedom. Journalist Tomás Sanz, publisher of the magazine Humor, was given a suspended sentence of one month in jail, for a news story published in 1991 about foreign accounts held by Senator Eduardo Menem. This article mentioned a news source of the magazine Brecha of Uruguay, as well as Menem’s denial. The court said that Humor should have confirmed the information. That decision deviated from the doctrine in the Campillay case, which said that a journalist is not liable when he attributes the content of a news story to a relevant source, as Humor did. On the other hand, the statute of limitations had expired in this criminal case when the court ruled in 1998. The case was criticized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The current court upheld the sentence, saying that the court had not ruled earlier on the statute of limitations because it did not accept it.