During the past six months, and with the approach of the November elections, conflicts have continued between the press and the political parties, namely the New Progressive Party (PNP) on account of press coverage of its activities. This reached the point where journalist's organizations and associations have called on the political parties to cease their attacks on the press. On September 4 the newspaper El Vocero ran a story that the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston had ordered the US District Court - Puerto Rico District, to hear a case on the criminal libel law. The newspaper had been involved in litigation over the law for years, after one of its reporters was charged under that statute, and two others threatened. Reportedly, the Circuit Court vacated a decision by Federal Judge Jay García Gregory, unduly quashing without review an appeal filed by the reporter, Tomás de Jesús Mangual, joined by the Caribbean International News Corp., the parent company of El Vocero, the journalists Jorge Luis Medina (for El Vocero), Manny Suárez, for The San Juan Star, and the Overseas Press Club. The higher court remanded the case back to Judge Gregory to rule on the validity of the law in cases where the plaintiff is a private party. Likewise the Department of Justice was ordered to report whether or not it would stand by the law. A series of articles published by El Vocero in 1998 concerning corruption in the Police Anti-Narcotics Division in Caguas gave rise to the action. Officer Elsa Rivera Colón, one of the persons implicated, sued the reporter Obed Betancourt for libel. She was also able to have him charged with criminal libel, which was dismissed at the arraignment hearing. El Vocero then took the case to Federal Court, in order to “vindicate the rights of the press.” Last January the Circuit Court struck down four articles of the criminal libel law of Puerto Rico as unconstitutional. In its September 9 edition, El Nuevo Día reported on Department of Health internal regulations governing conduct and discipline, which it characterized as a gag order aimed at preventing officials from providing information about the department. One of their provisions states that employees may be terminated or suspended for divulging confidential information to the press. The administration of Governor Sila Calderón kicked off a series of meetings with journalists on September 9. These conferences, set for Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the Secretary of Government Affairs, César Miranda, aimed at improving the dialogue between the press and the administration. The trial of El Vocero in the matter of the libel lawsuit brought by Governor Sila Calderón has been set for February 22, 23 and 24, 2005. The newspaper reportedly attempted to reach a settlement for an undisclosed sum, but to no avail. Attorneys for Calderón, her daughters and former husband Adolfo Krans, asked that the newspaper be held for libel for the publication of an article reporting on mistreatment by the governor of a servant alleged allegedly in her employ. This report was published the day of the first gubernatorial candidates' debate, in the weeks leading up to the 2000 elections. The plaintiffs are asking for $2 million in damages. On October 7, the weekly Claridad reported that the supermarket chain Amigo, owned by Walmart, banned the sale of the publication at its stores, after it ran stories denouncing its alleged anti-labor practices. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Federico Hernández Denton, agreed to discuss with photojournalists the use of cameras and television in the courtrooms. On October 14, he indicated that if the photojournalists present a proposal about the use of cameras in the courtroom, which are currently banned under judicial ethics rule 17, he would undertake to bring the matter up for consideration by a committee presently reviewing ethics rules. The photographers have been unsuccessfully requesting courtroom access for a number of years.