In many hemisphere nations the courts have become a threat to press freedom. This is also happening in Uruguay and is a particularly disturbing development. While there have been important and timely judicial decisions that support this basic freedom on constitutional grounds, recently a series of trials and lawsuits illustrated serious dangers. These risks and threats, which are no longer potential, have been encouraged by positions taken by the Public Prosecutor’s Office that are reflected in most of the acting prosecutors’ reports. For example, in a recent trial of a labor leader for statements criticizing the president, the acting prosecutor tried to put on trial the editor of the newspaper that published the statements even though the labor leader took full responsibility for them. Even when the editor took responsibility for the publication, the prosecutor tried to demand identification of the reporter or reporters who did the interview. The prosecutor never considered it legitimate or of public interest that a media outlet interview a labor leader and government opponent and publicize his views. While the prosecutor changed his position from day to day, at one point he requested the editor’s case file, on the basis of the principle in dubio pro reo (when in doubt favor the prisoner), which indicates that he thought the journalist had committed a crime but did not have enough evidence to seek a conviction. In another case, a court has summoned a journalist because of an interview he did with a retired military man. Because of the soldier’s statement, human rights groups filed criminal charges against him alleging support for crime. Even though the published interview is the basis of the charge, the court where it was filed wants the journalist to hand over his tapes or any other record of his conversations with the military man. The right of reply is applied in Uruguay in an abusive manner and even goes beyond what is allowed in the American Convention on Human Rights. It has not been affected by the fact that the IAPA considers is one of the worst forms of censorship. In one case, a trial was held because a political leader, who is a lawyer, wanted to continue using space in a media outlet. He had published information about influence peddling, and two of the people involved wrote letters, which were published, giving their side of the story. One of the letters included incorrect information and insults, and the publication added the appropriate clarifications. The lawyer then went to court because he thought he had the right to continue publishing in that media outlet. A court twice ordered a Montevideo newspaper to publish responses on its front and back pages despite the fact that the newspaper had voluntarily published the requested responses and even published clarifications and apologized. A judge had a journalist held incommunicado because he refused to disclose the source of an investigative report on police corruption. The Supreme Court is investigating this case at the request of the journalists’ union. Another journalist has been cited for publishing news about loans that a government bank made to politicians and legislators. The case is still pending. A political group has filed suit for the right of reply against a newspaper and a weekly for publishing news of public interest in one case and an opinion column in the other. These cases go beyond all the limits of what is defensible in the controversial right of reply. Beyond the fact that these suits are not successful, this lawsuit industry, which is well received in the courts and involves too many prosecution arguments that would restrict press freedom, takes up time and is a serious expense for the media, which have to hire lawyers without any chance of recuperating unexpected costs of these trials. In addition to the trials against the press that involve excessive damage claims, the newspaper El Heraldo of Florida city, a member of the IAPA, reported that Judge Ricardo Santana obstructed the work of its reporters. On August 13 and 14, Judge Santana prevented reporters from El Heraldo from attending public hearings at the court, which is an attack on freedom of information. The administration of El Heraldo informed the regional vice president of the IAPA, the Provincial Press Organization and the Uruguayan Press Association that they had sent a note to the Supreme Court requesting its intervention. In contrast to this negative situation in the courts, it should be stressed that the Chamber of Deputies recently approved a bill on the right to information and habeas data. The bill, now being studied in the Senate, would allow citizens to have access to all government documents, to obtain information and disseminate it. Rafael Molina, chairman of the Committee on Freedom of Press and Information, expressed his satisfaction with the progress this bill offers for press freedom. It is expected that in the course of the legislative process the law will not be amended in a way that would change its goal of transparency and that it will be enforced effectively. Representatives of some members of the left-wing coalition have made proposals during the comment period that reflect a troublesome tendency to regulate the work of the Uruguayan press. The first, which was later called a “draft,” proposed that those who wanted to practice journalism should obtain the support of a political group. In October, a coalition senator reiterated the idea that it is necessary to “democratize the media.” The IAPA declares that there are no restrictions on free expression by any political, social or philosophical group. Access to public opinion and the ability to establish a written, radio or television outlet are not restricted in Uruguay for ideological reasons. In fact, media outlets representing the most diverse political views function freely in the country. Therefore, these proposals are worrisome for the future of press freedom in Uruguay. Several journalists have been attacked while working. The Uruguayan Press Association (APU) reported the cases of Enrique Filgueiras, who was struck by a musician; of a reporter of the newspaper El País who was attacked by public schools principals; and of several journalists who were attacked by labor unionists who said they were guarding Cuban Ambassador Joaquín Alvarez as he was leaving the country. In the last case, labor leader Juan Castillos later apologized publicly. The APU offered support to provincial journalists who said they had been fired or had lost their programs because of political pressure. It also criticized the presidential press office for refusing to allow journalists from Canal 1 to attend a news conference. For years there has been a double standard in Uruguay concerning taxation of the press in Montevideo and the rest of the country. The current administration’s decision to level taxes on the basis of the lowest tax burden is a positive development. Despite that, taxes are still one of the greatest obstacles to the full development of press freedom. Another economic problem, which is not directly linked to the regional crisis, has to do with the very high distribution costs in Uruguay. More economical joint solutions or alternatives are being analyzed.