URUGUAY No events that endanger press freedom have been reported in the past six months. However, several bills that could infringe upon press freedom have been in Congress for quite some while, although they have been shelved and probably will not be reactivated during this legislative session. The importation of newsprint and other supplies has not been blocked, although some dozen newspapers continue in Appeals Court with a challenge to the constitutionality of a Newsprint Commission created by a June 12, 1996, decree. The newspapers are calling for the abolition of the Newsprint Commission, which has the power to authorize and control such imports, even to the point of assigning quotas. The large quantity of lawsuits for libel and slander, as well as lawsuits based on the Right to Reply, has tied up journalists and their media in endless court cases.Although most judges have dismissed these cases, this is not always the case, as evidenced by court decisions in recent weeks. In addition, the widely accepted legal concept that "he who loses, pays" does not exist in Uruguay. Thus, many lawyers see an opportunity to file suits on their own or to encourage clients to bring libel suits against journaists or the media because there is nothing to lose, except for a certain amount of time. On the other hand, there is a lot to gain. This practice, which has aroused concern in journalistic circles, is damaging to all media, but especially to those with few economic resources because of the high costs of constantly hiring lawyers. In another matter, public officials appear to be making an effort to adhere to technical criteria, such as newspaper Circulation, in the placement of official advertising.