ARGENTINA The press welcomed Argentine President Fernando de la Rúa’s announcement that he would sign a decree repealing a 1940s-era law regulating the distribution of newspapers and magazines. The pledge, made before members of the Association of Argentine Journalist Entities (ADEPA), would confirm a recent Economy Ministry resolution. De la Rúa’s promised measure would scrap the 1946 law enacted under the totalitarian government of Gen. Juan Domingo Perón. On May 28, groups burned almost all the print run of La Gaceta of Tucumán and destroyed the newspaper’s distribution outlets. In addition, newspaper employees, news vendors and ordinary people endured physical assaults, verbal abuse and threats delivered at gunpoint. In the province of Santiago del Estero, there has been a resurgence of assaults on El Liberal newspaper. The daily has been attacked in various ways from the firing of a projectile at a commercial outlet to reports of political persecution, espionage, restriction of government advertising and limits on press freedom by the provincial government. On the plus side, there have been favorable court rulings, including two concerning the newspaper La Voz del Interior of Córdoba.. In the first case, a criminal court dismissed a businessman’s libel lawsuit against an editor of the paper. Separately, an appeals court ― applying the criterion of “actual malice” ― overturned a libel verdict against one of the newspaper’s journalists. Another encouraging development was a San Martín court ruling admitting as evidence footage shot by a concealed camera of an extortion attempt by two policemen and an inspector of the municipality of Tres de Febrero. On the other hand, the daily La Arena of Santa Rosa in La Pampa province was hit by unfavorable verdicts. It was fined for publishing information on a minor implicated in various crimes, a violation the court held had violated criminal procedural law. In three other cases, the paper hopes to successfully appeal other verdicts against it linked to its reporting. Verdicts also went against La Unión, of Catamarca, in a lawsuit brought by a person who felt his good name had been tarnished, even though the newspaper had offered him the right of reply. An appeals court also levied a 6,000 pesos ($6,000 U.S.) fine on Editorial Atlántida, publisher of Gente magazine, for printing an article on street children that included a photograph of a couple entering a short-stay hotel. The man pictured sued the magazine, saying the photo had harmed his marriage. The court dismissed that line of argument, but imposed the fine because Gente published the photo of the man without his consent. The editor in charge of the daily Norte was punished with unusual severity for publishing an allegedly offensive statement regarding the activities of a lawyer who had the support of his Bar Association.