GUATEMALA During the first three years of President Alvaro Arzu's administration, there was a constant confrontation between the government and the press. It reached the level of intimidation against the most independent news outlets, in a clear attack against press freedom, and caused the forced sale of the prestigious magazine Cronica after a long advertising boycott provoked by the government. Since 1999 is an election year, the tension with the government and the official party has diminished considerably. But journalists are not very optimistic about 2000, since many congressional candidates from the two main parties have had confrontations of one type or another with journalists. This is a chronology of events: -Radio Corporaci6n Nacional, an independent radio station, sold time for a news program called "Hoy por hoy," that discredited the journalists and news companies that were most independent and critical of the government. An investigation by the newspapers El Periodico and Prensa Libre showed that the presidential chief of staff, Mariano Rayo, was behind the program. The government denied that it was responsible for the program despite the public report, which demonstrated that the company that owned the radio show was formed by two of Rayo's assistants. Executives of Prensa Libre met with the radio station's owners and it was agreed that "Hoy por hoy" would stop broadcasting anonymous attacks. Later it was learned that the same company had bought an independent journalistic enterprise, El Regional, that now takes a pro-government line. -One positive development was the sentencing of the murderers of provincial journalist Jorge Luis Marroquin, editor and owner of the weekly Sol Chart{, who was shot to death June 5, 1997. The two convicted killers were sentenced to 50 and 30 years in prison. The investigation of the former mayor of Jocotan, Jose Manuel Ohajaca, who was accused at the trial of being the mastermind of the crime, is continuing. Marroquin was killed after publishing a series of reports about corruption in the administration of Ohajaca, who fled the country when he left his post. His whereabouts are unknown. Although many journalists have been killed in Guatemala, this is the first time that a case has been investigated seriously and the trial has led to a conviction. The press now demand that the mastermind be pursued. -It is important to note the visit to Guatemala of a special mission led by the president of IAPA, Jorge Fascetto. The mission met with President Arzu, who promised to make a "fresh start" in his relations with the press and to order the Public Ministry to continue the investigations of the murders of Jorge Carpio Nicolle and Irma Flaquer, whose cases are included in the Unpunished Crimes Against Journalists project. The mission also met with the main presidential candidates in the November 7 election. At a private lunch they promised that - if elected - they would respect freedom of the press.