Press freedom has deteriorated considerably despite the fact that the independent press has been strengthened because of its firm stance against government harassment. President Alfonso Portillo has become the most severe critic of the press, trying to discredit it constantly with statements impugning its credibility. Other high officials do the same, including Vice President Francisco Reyes; the president of Congress, Efraín Ríos Montt; and Attorney General Carlos de Léon. The president went so far as to threaten editors. In response José Rubén Zamora, editor of elPeriódico, filed a preliminary complaint against him. The Supreme Court accepted the action and Congress had to name a commission to investigate the case. Officials of the public prosecutor’s office have admitted unofficially that some journalists’ telephones are tapped, specifically those the government constantly accuses of conspiracy, just because they publish reports on corruption, organized crime and behind-the-scenes power groups in the governing party, the FRG. Government intimidation also includes restrictions on reporters covering public events, including a resumption of the practice of taking pictures of journalists covering official events. This was done during the period of repression against the press, from 1978 to 1983, when the highest number of murders of journalists occurred. In December and January, the public prosecutor’s office summoned journalists in an intimidating way to confirm in court reports published in their newspapers. Representatives of elPeriódico refused to respond in order to guarantee the protection of their sources. The government has found that taxation can be a form of harassment. All of the main newspapers have been audited by the Tax Authority (SAT) which have overstepped its limits. Nuestro Diario, the newspaper with the highest circulation, has been harassed by auditors. It filed a request for relief in a court which ruled in its favor. The newspapers have accepted the audits without complaint in compliance with the law. At the same time they reject and denounce any act that exceeds the limit of the law establishing the Tax Authority. In February, two journalists, Elizabel Enríquez of the agency Cerigua, and Marielos Monzón, a columnist for Prensa Libre, were attacked under circumstances that have not been explained. Other columnists have reported receiving telephone threats. Despite the campaign to discredit the media, their credibility has increased and circulation is going up.