MEXICO Press freedom improved significantly, and no crime against journalists was reported. Nevertheless, the Mexican media are concerned about the large numbers of attacks, threats, complaints and boycotts affecting freedom of expression. Institutions like the National Committee for Human Rights and journalists' protection committees have reported more attacks and threats in the last six months than in earlier periods. These are the most important developments: -On February 7, 1999, Gaston Monje Estrada, a journalist with the newspaper El Manana of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, was attacked by anned men at his home. The assailants were Daniel Villareal, 39, Arturo Martinez Villareal, 16, the son of a councilman, and an unidentified man. According to authorities, the attack was triggered by the publication of articles by Monje Estrada about a series of crimes by the gang in Nuevo Laredo. He had received death threats for these articles since 1992. -On February 23, the mayor of Nezahualcoyot, in the state of Mexico, Valentin Gomez Bautista, brought a criminal charge of defamation against the editor of the regional newspaper Diario 32, Alejandro Mercado Blanco. He asked the state Attorney General's Office to investigate the kidnapping of his sister, Concepcion. -On March 11 in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, the National Human Rights Commission began to investigate the alleged violation of the rights of journalists and academics whom the Federal Attorney General's office had linked to the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR). -The threats against Sergio Haro Cordero, editor of the Baja California weekly Siete Dfas, continued at the end of May when calls were made to the publication's newsroom in Mexicali to warn that he would be killed. Humberto Melgoza of the newspaper La Prensa, and Jesus Barraza of Pulso, both of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, have also received death threats. All three covered the murder of journalist Benjamin Flores in July 1997 and the release of the main suspect, Jaime Gonzalez Gutierrez. On May 24, about 20 reporters stood in front of the office of the Federal Attorney General's office in Culiacan, Sinaloa, to protest that office's harassment of journalists and to demand more open dissemination of news. The protest was triggered when three reporters were summoned to testify about published and unpublished reports aimed at confirming corruption among agents of the Federal Judicial Police. -Federal courts rejected the appeal of Jose Antonio Zorrilla Perez and former commander Alberto Guadalupe Estrella Barrrera and confirmed their sentences of 25 and 22 years in prison, respectively, for the murder of the journalist Manuel Buendia in May, 1984. -On June 2, an IAPA delegation headed by President Jorge Fascetto, visited Mexico City and Guadalajara to request that the various cases of murders of journalists be solved. Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and Attorney General Jorge Madrazo CueHar told IAPA members that the cases of Victor Manuel Oropeza and Hector Felix Miranda were in the jurisdiction of the states of Chihuahua and Baja California respectively. However, both officials promised to urge the authorities in those states to speed up the investigations, including the case of the North American reporter Phillip True, who was killed last year in the Jaslico mountains. -On July 18, in Tezontepec de Aldama, Hidalgo, peasants from the village Mangas, whose leaders had just signed an agreement with the SRA and the state government to end a conflict of more than eighty years with their neighbors in Mixquiahuala concerning 1,899 hectares of land, kidnapped the editor of a local newsweekly and his wife. The ordeal did not end until the editor of the weekiy Solud6n promised the peasants that he would publish photographs of the military and police outposts still in the disputed area. -In Mexico City on July 20, the Supreme Court rejected the petition of the Multivision company to dismiss the lawsuit against it by Televisa, which could cost it the equivalent of 15,000 monthly salaries. Televisa sued Multivision for allegedly violating the Federal Copyright Law by broadcasting the opening of the news program "Para Usted" on January 29, 1998 whose content was taken from the news program "Muchas Noticias" which had been broadcast on Canal 9 de Televisa the same day. -On August 10 in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, for the second time in that month, people working for the state government confiscated from newsstands copies of the newspaper La Jornada, supposedly because it had an article questioning the state governor, Roberto Albores Guillen for actions during the conflict of Chimalapas and the support he gave Francisco Labastida during his recent tour of the state. The action was carried out by employees of the state government's Social Communications Coordination Office who went around the city in a van taking all copies of the newspaper. -On August 18, Jesus Barraza, editor of the weekiy newspaper Pulso of San Luis Rio Colorado, Sonora, and two reporters, Damian Zavala and Heriberto Ordufio were attacked by Alejandro Martinez Chaparro and Hugo Gutierrez, believed to be members of the Federal Highway Police. The journalists had taken photographs of illicit behavior by the police officers who were accompanied by officers of the Federal Judicial Police and of the state of Sonora. The illicit activity was reported by residents of the area. -On August 20 a group of print and electronic reporters from the central zone of Veracruz state demanded that Governor Miguel Aleman Velasco and the National Attorney General's office open an investigation of the commander of the Federal Highway Police in Orizaba, David Hernandez Cabrera. On August 17, he illegally arrested the reporter Hector Ortiz Arroyo of the newspaper El Mundo de Cordoba. -On August 26, in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Lt. Ramiro Ramos Flores and police officer Eleazar Zarate Acevedo were detained. Many copies of the newspaper El Manana taken the day before from the newspaper's distributors were found in the trunk of their patrol car. In a vain attempt to silence the newspaper, these two and a group of armed criminals in late model cars acquired a large number of the papers that are normally sold in Nuevo Laredo. On September 3, the newspaper El Mexicano of Tijuana, Baja California, publicized a persecution of its reporter Jose Job Flores Hernandez by the Federal Attorney General's Office. Jose Job Flores was repeatedly ordered to appear before the authorities for writing about information obtained in the Directorate of Public Security and the State Attorney General's Office abut the murder of Maria Luisa Camarena, published August 20 in El Mexicano. This article said that those who killed the 72-year -old woman were wearing black uniforms with the initials of the Federal Judicial Police. -On September 7 Jose Luis Hernandez Salas was dismissed as editor in chief of the newspaper El Independiente of Hermosillo, Sonora, on the orders of the paper's board of directors. Since Hernandez Salas refused to accept his dismissal, a civil judge ordered agents of the state's judicial police to remove the editor and prevent him from entering the plant. The dismissed editor filed a request for the return of property that he says belongs to him but the company has seized. The case is being analyzed by the appropriate authorities. -On September 13, about 200 young people, believed to be participants in the torchlight march called by the CGH of the National University in Mexico City, threatened to burn the main door of the Mexico City Museum where the newspaper La Jornada was holding a seminar. They damaged a vehicle and hurled insults at Carmen Lira Saade, editor in chief of the newspaper La Jornada, its editor founder, Carlos Payan Velver, and Carlos Monsivais, a contributor. -On October 1 in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, six journalists, including cameramen and reporters of Channel 12 and journalists with the local newspaper El Diano, were attacked by religious fanatics and tear-gassed by security guards from a private company. The pattern of harassment against the daily newspaper La Cronica de Hoy by judicial authorities of the Federal District (Prosecutor's Office of the Federal District) is continuing. On May 26, police officers entered the newspaper's building and violently detained the security guard in the reception area. He was accused later of illegal weapons possession. On October 15, the General Office to Investigate Crimes Against Honor summoned two of the newspaper's reporters because of a news story published in April 1998 reporting the criminal record of a Federal District police officer.