In the last six months, despite the fact that the state of press freedom has not undergone any regrettable violent setbacks, there have persisted isolated threats against journalists, mainly in the inland areas of the country, while the government continues with its policy of using placement of official advertising to punish the press that criticizes it. The electoral process in Guatemala is to officially start in one month’s time, despite the fact that in practice the propaganda campaign actually began some weeks ago. Traditionally during these processes there are always attacks on and criticism of the independent press, and this time it does not seem that this is going to change. Regarding access to public information in the country, the State Attorney’s Office for Human Rights (PDH) said that a resistance exists on the part of many public institutions to hand over what it is requested, despite there being in existence since 2009 a law that protects this right. PDH Access to Information Executive Secretary Alfonso Godínez revealed that in 2010 the Interior and Finance Ministries and many municipalities held back information about the salaries of their employees and he attributed this to, among other factors, the low level of accountability and culture of informing people. Godínez felt there is a need to change the culture of public sector employees who are not accustomed to giving out information, but also that of the citizens who are not accustomed to asking for it. “Access to information rests upon a very important premise, he or she who has more information could make better decisions about their life,” Godínez declared. In the case of institutions that deny journalists information or require them to make their request in writing Godínez said that “pubic institutions and all those subjected to the law should be clear that access to sources is a constitutional right; the law on access to information is not out of line with press freedom.” A number of attacks on journalists were reported during these last six months, mainly in inland areas of the country. Early in January Óscar de León, correspondent of the television news channel Guatevisión in Quetzaltenango province, received repeated threats and was subjected to harassment, while an attempt was made on the life of his brother in a car he owned. He believes the incidents could be linked to anonymous information he had received about complaints made against the head of the local Municipal Traffic Police. Although he never published the information it was made public after consultations he had with the local mayor, who in turn called a meeting of the City Council. The telephoned threats and those made through colleagues continued and on January 28 unidentified assailants fired three times at his car, being driven at the time by his brother. Meanwhile, the now former chief of police filed a libel suit against him. On January 16 two reporters in Quiché were attacked during a party political event. Jorge Toledo and Norman Rodas from the Santa Cruz del Quiché television station were assaulted by people identifying themselves as members of the Patriota Party (PP) press team. The incident was understood to have been sparked during a press conference at the PP headquarters, where a discussion broke out that resulted in Toledo being insulted and beaten. When he attempted to intercede Rodas was himself beaten with a camera sustaining a wound to his head. On February 17 an organized crime prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office who was conducting a raid on a clandestine bar in downtown San Pedro Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, threatened two reporters with confiscating their equipment and taking them to jail as they sought to cover the event. Jenner Barrios, a cameraman with the news Web site Noticias del Valle told the Cerigua agency that he was covering the raid when the prosecutor, whom he did not name, approached them violently, asked them not to tape what was going on, and ordered them to turn around against the wall, while at the same threatening to seize their equipment and take them to jail.