URUGUAY There was a serious attack on press freedom on August 20 when the newspaper vendors’ association decided not to distribute El País that day and threatened not to sell subsequent editions. The union demanded that the newspaper retract information in a news story published the day before concerning the price, the percentage that vendors and distributors receive and that it make public the name of the author. The union halted the threats because of the company’s refusal to give in to its demands and the support of the government, journalistic groups like the Uruguayan Press Association and personal mediation by Danilo Arbilla, first vice president of the IAPA. But on that day the newspaper was not distributed through the usual channels. Efforts have been made to form a committee to draw up a solution acceptable to both sides. It should end a system that goes back almost 70 years, that has no legal support and is not realistic to make distribution and marketing of print media conform to the possibilities offered by technological change and today’s world. Another cause for concern are some journalistic practices such as unethical and unprofessional plagiarism by some media outlets, apparently with ideological intentions. In addition to the harm caused, this practice also sows confusion among the public and doubts about the value of press freedom. There is also concern about the judiciary’s delay in the investigation into the tapping of telephones of the weekly Búsqueda, apparently by the police. The illegally obtained information was used by a high police official. This was reported to the prosecutor by the weekly’s journalists and the Uruguayan Press Association, a journalists’ union. Even though there is very significant information about who is responsible, either directly or indirectly, there has been no type of decision. This slowness of the judiciary has also been noted in a lawsuit brought against the high police official for alleged fabrication of crimes and libel. Information obtained by the IAPA draws attention to the delay within the prosecutor’s office. This has to do with unproved accusations in March by this top police official linking the first vice president of the IAPA, Danilo Arbilla, to money laundering operations with drug traffickers. He cited alleged information from abroad, for example the United States, Argentina and Mexico. The case was dismissed, and the three governments that were named confirmed officially that they had nothing to do with these allegations. Even so the accusations were played up in some sensational publications, which, the IAPA pointed out, have been the biggest beneficiaries of the arbitrary placement of official advertising. As was anticipated by the vice president and other members of the Uruguayan delegation, reports made at the Houston General Assembly caused a campaign against IAPA that included veiled threats to this vice president. He also was directly threatened in every way and with all kinds of lies. The campaign did not have the desired results for those who started it, because of the responsible position of Uruguayan officials, especially President Jorge Batlle, Vice President Luis Hierro López and Interior Minister Guillermo Stirling. If it were not for their guarantees, something similar to what has happened recently in Peru with Montesinos could have occurred. The police official was sanctioned, and he retired. However, the delay in justice, particularly at the prosecutor’s level, has prevented a complete disclosure in the case, which has allowed the tarnishing of the name of the victim, which was the original goal of the campaign. In recent weeks, IAPA members in Uruguay handed over more material about arbitrary placement of official advertising to the executive and the judiciary so investigations could be held and appropriate measures taken. On May 2, sports commentator Julio César Sánchez Padilla, director of the program “Estadio Uno” on the government’s Canal 5 was wounded when unidentified assailants shot at him on several occasions. In this country, crimes committed by the press can be prosecuted in criminal as well as civil courts. This well known situation has been condemned and rejected by all organizations that defend human rights and press freedom in the hemisphere and the world. Nevertheless, in many cases, public figures and professionals take advantage of this reprehensible situation and use the threat to have journalists imprisoned to sow confusion among the public and frighten the media so their deeds will not be uncovered