ARGENTINA Some events in the past six months have adversely affected press freedom. The newspaper El Liberal of Santiago del Estero province is still being harassed by the provincial government. In addition to political pressures and the being cut off from government news sources, El Liberal has suffered discrimination in the placement of government advertising and is still facing some 4,000 complaints by the women’s branch of the governing party. This awkward situation was aggravated by statements by the mayor of the city of Santiago del Estero, José Luis Zavalía, who suggested that El Liberal sell “some of its stock to open the newspaper’s opinion to other sectors.” On November 4, President Fernando de la Rúa signed Decree 1025/00 establishing a new system for marketing newspapers and magazines throughout the country. The new regulation says “newspapers, magazines and similar publications” can be “published, distributed and sold… without restrictions in a system of free competition.” This modified a system imposed in a 1945 law that established strict regulations for news organizations that was inconsistent with the liberalization of the economy in the 1990s. However, sale and distribution of newspapers has not yet been fully deregulated since rules have not yet been set under the new decree. At the end of last year, the government called on companies that publish, distribute and sell newspapers and magazines to participate in establishing rules for Articles 4 and 5 of the decree. Recently, there have been several initiatives on the national and provincial level designed to control journalism. In November, federal Senator Augusto Alasino proposed a resolution limiting “excessive freedom of expression” when published information “offends honor and reputation.” Sen. Alasino also urged the legislators to debate bills regulating the right of reply and use of confidential sources. Alasino’s text says the measures were presented because of certain news stories published by La Nación of Buenos Aires that, he said, “affected assets belonging to senators individually or collectively that are protected by the judiciary.” In the same vein, a group of legislators from Mendoza drafted a bill to regulate journalism in that province. It establishes penalties and the right of reply. The authors of the controversial bill say it is necessary to “judge the conduct of this profession” with regulations covering professional journalists and graduates of schools of communications. If it is passed, it would establish a professional oversight body, directed and administered by journalists, with an ethics tribunal. We cannot omit from this report two issues involving the media, which are common knowledge in Argentina today and have an impact on the image and credibility of the press as a whole. The first relates to exposés in the press coinciding with parliamentary investigations that point to transactions to buy, set up or support media outlets with spurious funds from drug trafficking or bribes. This report would be incomplete without touching on this point, since it is at the root of this association's concern that Argentina's courts urgently address and resolve the issue, and so punish the crimes that have been committed or discredit unfounded statements, all of which has an adverse impact on the credibility of the press and casts suspicion on the media as a whole. The second issue relates to a kind of de facto tax exemption enjoyed by some media outlets, to which the government turns a blind eye. It amounts to preferential treatment and discrimination, and is therefore a serious affront to freedom of the press, in addition to corruption and abuse of power. This association has always condemned all these affronts.