During this period there have been serious risks related to: arrest of journalists and hampering their work; smear campaigns intended to freighten journalists; legal harassment; direct attacks on the regular work of the media; and an increase in denial of release of information of public interest. The most relevant events during this period were: The National Dialogue on Freedom of Expression, which was called for by the national government with the mediation of the Panamanian Catholic Church, has not been held. On May 2 the Tourism Authority, represented by attorney Rosendo Rivera, brought a civil suit for more than a million dollars against the newspaper La Prensa and the journalists in the investigative unit of that paper, Lina Vega and Santiago Cumbrera. In May, the National College of Journalists (CONAPE) complained of threats brought against Betzerai Richard, a reporter for the newspaper Metro Libre, after he published information on the University of Panama in which student groups were involved. Additionally, there was a general rejection of the aggressive acts suffered by the University of Panama photographer, Victor Acosta, when he was assaulted by students in university buildings. On June 20, during popular protests near the National Assembly of Deputies and followed by a series of arrests, journalists from the Medcom Corporation, Jermaine Cumberbatch and Milagro Córdova, were detained by officers of the National Police who prevented them from conducting their reporting work, taking away their cell phones, batteries, and filming equipment. On August 6, journalist Rafaela Sánchez and a photographer were detained by agents of the National Protection Service (SPA) as they were carrying out their work of reporting at the purification plant of the National Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN). During this period attacks upon the media and journalists have increased (especially the print media), through distribution of anonymous flyers and loading of anonymous videos on YouTube in campaigns intended to discredit them. At the start of his term as the new presidential minister, on August 1, a meeting took place between that official and representatives of the different guilds and organizations that make up the National Council on Journalism (CNP), during which the minister expressed his willingness to maintain open doors to respectful dialogue “where the values and principles that validate our democracy may be preserved.” Nevertheless, while this meeting was going on, the president of the Republic was attacking the media which “keep their silence on the good works of the government.” On July 17, the 17th Circuit Court, Criminal Division, issued an historic decision for freedom of expression and the right to information, acquitting journalists from the TVN Channel, Siria Miranda, Kelyneth Pérez and Eduardo Lim Yeung were acquitted. They had been charged by an agent of the National Police of the supposed commission of the crime of slander. Between August 2 and 3, workers at the construction company Transcaribe Trading (TCT), a contractor for the Panamanian government, parked their trucks and heavy equipment around the facilities of the La Prensa Corporation, with the clear intention of preventing circulation of its newspapers. Over previous days, the newspaper La Prensa had published investigative reports that revealed contracting by the Ministry of Public Works that favored the TCT builder with million-dollar projects. For more than three hours National Police authorities remained in the area without doing anything to impede the actions being taken against the newspaper. More than three hours later, upon orders from the president of the Republic, the trucks were removed. En la actualidad el Ministerio Público realiza investigaciones sobre los hechos. Recientemente, empresas que tienen relación con la constructora TCT presentaron un proceso civil en el que demandan 7 millones de dólares, por daños y prejuicios. Ante una situación de institucional judicial débil, preocupa que esta acción pudiera terminar afectando las operaciones de los diarios de Corporación La Prensa. On September 12, the First Superior Court of Justice ratified a 2009 decision against the Editora Panamá-América (EPASA) which publishes the newspaper Panamá-America and against journalists Jean Marcel Chéry and Gustavo Aparicio in a civil suit for “moral damages” brought by Winston Spadafora, former judge of the Supreme Court of Justice. The decision requires payment of $20,000 in compensation for moral damages and $5,000 in legal costs. The article published in 2001 revealed reconstruction of a highway with public funding that benefited a property belonging to Spadafora, at the time minister of government and justice. In past days, Spadafora’s attorneys presented an appeal for cancellation in order to increase the compensation. En mayo el diario La Prensa publico un informe sobre la asignación de publicidad estatal que revelaría que el Gobierno la utiliza para perjudicar a determinados grupos editoriales y favorecer a otro. Next November 6, one year will have passed since the murder of Darío Fernández Jaén, a Panamanian citizen with multiple, simultaneous areas of endeavor: educator, attorney, politician, journalist and radio commentator. The investigation has not yet been completed by the Prosecutor’s Office to determine who is responsible and what the motives were for this murder. A report on the status of freedom of expression by the Forum Foundation of Journalists for Freedom of Expression and Information stated that 82.8 per cent of journalists consider that freedom of expression has worsened over the past three months. Seventy-seven per cent state that they have been denied access to public information and 62 per cent that they are aware of veiled or direct threats against journalists.