Although there have been no frontal attacks or serious events that affect the work of journalists or the media, the climate of press freedom in these last six months has become strained with the appearance of limitations, while there is insistence on announcement of an imminent legislative bill that in its first chapter “will deal with the rights of audiences.” The problem of the people’s lack of security – a big concern for Uruguayans – puts the government in a bad light, as it does not find the mechanisms to successfully combat crime, where the presence of young people is a constant. Administratively, and without the guarantees of the judiciary, a heavy fine was imposed on the newspaper El Heraldo in Florida city for alleged violation of the Childhood and Adolescence Charter, and another similar case is under way against El País, initiated a year and a half after the supposed violation. A little more than one month ago El País was given sight of a file by the Institute for Children and Adolescents of Uruguay (INAU) in which an official called for the fine due to a report on a minor delinquent nicknamed “El Ricky.” The teenager was the perpetrator of seven very serious offenses under the penal code – exceptionally aggravated homicide with six repeated violent robberies, after having obtained public notoriety as the leader of “the red-handed gang,” a group that attacked pay offices. According to the report, the file “tends to individualize the teenager because, while his name is not given, he is identified by his nickname or alias, making mention of …”El Ricky,” and also mentioned is the word “minor,’ another element of identification of the person.” While in 1998 a decree was repealed that established prior censorship of contents during times of the day set aside for protection of minors (which was directed above all to the dissemination of movie synopses and whose application was not obligatory) this protection period was extended to the broadcast of sports, political and news programs. Its control will also remain in the hands of an administrative official belonging to the National Institute for Minors. At the same time, the Archives and Access to Public Information Center (CAinfo) echoed several denunciations and reported that “various bodies have declared as reserved a good part of the information regarding their conduct, interpreting in an indeterminate way some exceptions established under the Law on Access to Public Information.” The most notorious case is that of the Interior Ministry, which issued five resolutions declaring as reserved for reasons of security the majority of the information that this body produces. The government has issued severe criticisms of the news media. Former Defense Minister and current Senator Luis Rosadilla declared on September 17 in La República that “the main opposition to the government comes from the press,” through a “well-assembled group of strategies that certain news media use” and he claimed the need for “a group of news media that confront it; it is necessary to play very hard in that court.” Other major events On May 21, the four participants in the internal elections of the governing party Frente Amplio agreed on “the democratization of the media systems.” And also that “it is a precious battle on regulation of (media) content that falls to the powers that be.” On May 28, in the face of a small turnout in the internal election, Senator Lucia Topolansky blamed the low level of voter turnout on Montevideo media, because to access them one has to pay or depend on the structuring of the press. On May 30, in his customary radio address, President Carlos Mujica referred to the regulation of content. He stressed that what is involved is a law on audiovisual communication services and that “there is no interest in regulating news content nor will we meddle in the editorial stance of the media.” The president added that “we have a disperse series of norms regarding telecommunications which we must attempt to revise and make orderly. It is already time that we be more adult and have a global law.” And right away he declared that “there are strategic sectors of the country that have never been frankly democratized and it is going to be very difficult for democracy to advance in society without media that are increasingly democratic. It is not an attempt to silence the media owners, but rather to make it clear to them that they have obligations and responsibilities to society.” On June 13, the mayor of Montevideo, Ana Olivera, wound up an investigation begun in 2010 and ordered an official suspended for five days, without salary, for statements made to El País in which he acknowledged that “there is no one” to control dump trucks, a responsibility that corresponds to the mayor’s office. On June 20, the government announced its decision to amend the decree that regulates the time period for protection of minors and include “those matters that are today excluded, that is news, politics and sports reports.” There was criticism of the lack of dissemination of the government’s achievements, at the same time that there was noted an increase in “yellow journalism” or of those episodes that in the view of the Executive Branch give rise to and incite violence. On July 10, the Executive Branch repealed the decree that established prior censorship during the time period for protection of minors (never enforced) and extended it to news reports, sports and political programs. From the opposition, Deputy Álvaro Delgado called the move “the time period for protection of the government.” In the August issue of the magazine Políticas, a publication produced monthly by the President’s Office, National Telecommunications Director Sergio de Cola announced the imminent introduction of a 170-article legislative bill that in its first chapter “will deal with the rights of audiences,” because the Executive Branch is “concerned to guarantee the violated rights of audiences.” For his part, the secretary of the Presidency, Alberto Breccia, was categorical in declaring that “we know what the limits are,” although he did not say precisely what they were but did feel that “there will be so much self-regulation (of the media) as is possible and as much regulation by the government as is necessary.” The Accountabililty Bill included two articles – approved exclusively by the government benches – that set a figure to be charged electronic media and the granting to the government of fifteen minutes a day for its use in “campaigns in the public good.” In the first few days of September El Heraldo of the city of Florida was embargoed due to a fine applied by the Childhood and Adolescence Institute for what it regarded as a violation of the Childhood Code – adopted in 2004 and amended in this regard by Article 433 of the Budget Law (No. 17,930) of 2006 that removed this power from the judiciary – for the dissemination in 2008 of a news report that involved a minor. The report had also been broadcast by local and national television channels, but that was not taken into account. The newspaper’s editor, Álvaro Riva, declared in an editorial headlined “La otra mejilla, no” (Turning the Other Cheek, No) that “the government wants to prevent bad news and it has achieved that, at least in part, by imposing a regime of self-censorship on El Heraldo, which will not report on minors in critical social situations, labor abuse and much less when their rights are violated, as in the case of the rape of a minor that gave rise to the news in 2008.” On September 5 in a television program President Mujica struck out at the press and personalized his attack against the newspapers El País and El Observador. To cap it all off, he attributed to Uruguayan national hero José Artigas a phrase that he never said: “The great advantage is that my people don’t know how to read.” Two days after these words more than a hundred people who identified themselves as belonging to the radical group “Acción sin Fronteras” (Action Without Borders) hurled ink bombs and painted the façades of El Observador and television station Montecarlo, while they demanded – in front of a police fence – not to “distort” information and stop reporting “banalities,” citing plans to install a mega-size mining company (Aratiri). On September 6, five Interior Ministry resolutions were announced which would prevent that, under protection of the Law on Access to Public Information, certain information from that ministry be disseminated, but instead be walled up under the label “Reserved Information” and which includes practically all of its activities and infrastructure. On September 14, El Observador published a piece, with a page-one headline, in which it reported on a meeting held by the president with leaders of the Communist Party who expressed – according to sources – the unease of that political group with the head of state and the possibility of the Communists abandoning the government. That same day, the report was denied on television media by the former coordinator of the Pit-Cnt labor union and current vice chairman of the Frente Amplio party, Juan Castillo. El Observador, which had the report tape recorded, felt obliged to reveal its source, Castillo, also one of the principal leaders of the Communist Party. In that same recording Castillo confirmed the information, which he later would deny and expressly ask not to be named. On September 20, the President, in his customary radio address, criticized the media for not having covered the information of a meeting that he had with the National Students Council and said he felt “deep pain” at “the sad triviality of the informative system.”