PARAGUAY There have been a series of initiatives to attack freedom of the press and expression. These have been mainly on the legal front, with the reinstatement of a controversial law on government advertising and the enactment of new legislation on commercial advertising. There were also aggressions against journalists. Events of note were: Press groups denounced Air Force personnel's aggression and assault on Hugo Cano, correspondent of the daily ABC Color, and Gabriel Alfonzo, correspondent of the daily Noticias, in the southern city of Ayolas last March 10. Press groups denounced the incident as an attack on the journalism profession. The newsmen had been covering the crash of an Air Force plane in which two officers died. The military personnel verbally and physically mistreated the journalists and exposed their film. On July 1l,JudgeJorge Bogarin granted an injunction sought by Hurnberto Rubin, editor of Nanduti radio station, against, a ban imposed by then president Juan Carlos Wasmosy on media interviews of Lino Oviedo, an imprisoned retired general. The judge based his decision on several grounds, citing articles in the Constitution dealing with freedom of expression and the press as well as the freedoms established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and judicial precedents and cases. He also noted the constitutional rights for citizens to get information and have access to it. On July 14, the National Police Department for Criminal Investigations and the administration of the city of Pedro Juan Caballero reopened the investigation into the murder of Santiago Leguizamon, a journalist killed on April 16, 1991. Luis Alberto Mauro, a senator of the Partido Encuentro Nacional party, proposed in Congress that a special prosecutor be named and the necessary funds allocated to proceed with the probe of the Leguizamon murder. On July 31, journalism associations denounced the pressure applied by Egidio Ruiz Perez, governor of the department of Misiones, on Rafael Montiel and Celso Rivarola, the respective correspondents of the Asuncion dailies ABC Color and La Nacion. The journalists had published reports about alleged irregularities committed by Ruiz Perez when he was the mayor of San Ignacio in the department of Misiones. On Aug. 27, the Senate approved the law that regulates government advertising. The law had been vetoed in its entirety by former president Wasmosy on grounds that it limited the government's right and obligation to inform the citizenry. In general, the law prohibits public sector institutions - including the government, autonomous and decentralized entities, governorships and municipalities - from taking out advertising in domestic or foreign media. It establishes exemptions for call for bids, edicts in general, the promotion of campaigns of information and of rural and health education, notices of public interest and the sponsorship of programs which disseminate national folklore and culture. It establishes how much should be spent to achieve these aims. Also exempted is advertising by state-owned companies or those of mixed capital which are not de facto or de jure monopolies and compete in the marketplace. Criminal law experts, judges, lawyers and journalists asked Congress to revise the new Penal Code's article 87, which refers to the seizure of certain products and the rendering of them useless because of "its possible application to mass media would be a direct assault on the Constitution." Their request was formulated during a panel held on the topic between Aug. 31 and Sept. 2. Article 151 of the new Penal Code, which refers to libel, establishes that publications will not be penalized when they" don't exceed the acceptable boundaries of criticism." Fear was expressed that this could be used as a basis to restrict the freedom of expression and the press. The new criminal legislation enters into force on Nov. 26, 1998. On Sept. 10, the Senate approved a law on the "advertising of tobacco and alcoholic beverages" and sent it to the executive branch for enactment. The law regulates the advertising of these products and establishes sanctions for those who infringe it. It bans the television broadcast of advertising of tobacco and alcoholic beverages, either on the air or on cable, between 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. It bans AM and FM radio stations from doing the same from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. Exemptions are made for political, economic and social programs and midday news programs directed at an adult audience. Also excluded are promotions of tobacco and alcoholic beverages at social, cultural and sport events as long as they only refer to the brand and don't promote consumption.