ARGENTINA The reform of the National Constitution agreed to by Argentina's two principal political parties, the governing Justicialist Party and the opposition Radical Party, raised serious doubts about how the proposed reform might affect the freedom of the press currently existing in the country. However, at the conclusion of the constitutional reform assembly in August, the possibility that constitutional guarantees now in force might be sharply cut back was averted - thanks to pressure from the media. Certain politicians and officials nevertheless seek to resort to legal measures to try to manipulate the media. At times, they have even violated the constitution to do so. Proponents of the so-called "right of reply" sought to make it a part of the Constitution by giving constitutional status to 10 international human rights treaties, among them the Pact of San José, Costa Rica. President Carlos Menem criticized the press for attacking this move, but reaffirmed his opposition to the right of reply. Only through persistent campaigns of public education and long conversations with the convention delegates meeting in the city of Santa Fe was it possible to limit the application of the Pact of San José. It was finally agreed that no article in the first part of the Constitution would be repealed. Among other inalienable rights, the Constitution prohibits all forms of censorship and passage of any law restricting press freedom (Articles 14 and 32). Thus, the application in Argentina of provisions of the Pact of San José on the right of reply and prior censorship was averted. The Pact of San José stipulates that the right of reply applies only when it has to do with "legally regulated means of dissemination" - a situation that does not apply in Argentina, where no regulation governs dissemination of news. There would seem to be room for the logical application of that right when it comes to state-owned property, to which, it should be presumed, all citizens should have reasonable access since it is economically sustained by all. The Constituent Assembly approved Article 43 on habeas data, but later decided that "it will not be allowed to affect the confidentiality of sources of journalistic information." This particular habeas data provision establishes that any person may have recourse to swift legal action to uncover facts referring to him or her, and their purpose. This embraces both public and private registers and data bases. In the event of inaccuracy or perceived discrimination in such a file, the complainant can demand its suspension, rectification, sealing or updating. This does not affect the confidentiality of news sources, protection of which now has constitutional status in Argentina. The Constitution of Buenos Aires, the country's major province, was also reformed, with sorne clear-cut provisions being added. They include the guarantee that a journalist not be required to reveal his or her source and the media will not be obligated to publish corrections. There are, however, sorne issues giving rise to concern. In Congress a bill introduced by the government would increase disproportionately the penalties for libel and defamation. The proposed legislation is seen as an attempt to intimidate the press. It would make journalists subject to more severe penalties than those applying to public officials convicted of illicit enrichment. The national Senate's Committee on Constitutional Affairs passed an amendment giving itself power to arrest and hold for up to 10 days any person "deemed to have affected the prerogatives of a senator." Journalists have in the past been detained for criticizing or disagreeing with congressmen. The legislative action is seen as a serious threat to freedom of expression and of the press. In Jujuy province, journalist Ricardo Martínez of El Tribuno received anonyrnous threats while investigating an assault on a young man named Héctor Pérez, who had been badly burned in the attack. In Resistencia, Chaco province, the editor of the newspaper El Diario compained that he had beeen bombarded with 15 complaints from officials and then was cut off from the information being supplied by police to other media. The newspaper Hoy en la Noticia, of the city of La Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires, has filed an administrative complaint, and also one in the courts, against an action taken by an inspector from the Ministry of Labor. He had threatened to force the distribution of the newspaper through the Cooperative of Vendors of Newspapers, Magazines and Related Materials. Hoy en La Noticia, having come to the conc1usion that this cooperative was not taking care of the newspaper's best interests, had decided to hand over its distribution and sale to other organizations. Former Argentine President Raúl Alfonsín ealry in October publicily charged that La Nación and its political columnist, Atilio Cadorín, had been waging a campaign against him. The newspaper, backing its columnist, called the accusation "absurd."