WHEREAS the Government of Colombia through several different officials has expressed persistent reservations as to the manner in which journalists practice journalism in Colombia, and have sought mechanisms for self-restriction and self-censorship WHEREAS a bill has just been introduced in Congress that would extend the punishments for libel to apply to any unfounded statement or disputed evidence, and make the director of the media outlet liable in the event that the author of a piece cannot be identified WHEREAS Senator María Isabel Mejía Marulanda introduced a bill on October 24, 2002, that would limit recognition as journalists to those registered with the Ministry of Labor and Social Security or other agency with analogous functions, who have been practicing staff or freelance journalists for not less than 10 years WHEREAS five journalists were murdered in the past six months – two of them clearly because of what they wrote or said – nine have been kidnapped, and over sixty have reported receiving threats WHEREAS many cases of arbitrary treatment of journalists by police and the military have been reported in the past six months, especially in the departments of Arauca, Cesar, Bogota and Antioquia WHEREAS the national government is working on an anti-terrorism bill that incorporates restrictions on freedom of the press WHEREAS Principle 1 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that “No people or society can be free without freedom of expression and of the press; the exercise of this freedom is not something authorities grant, it is an inalienable right of the people” WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators; such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” WHEREAS Principle 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that “Prior censorship, restrictions on the circulation of the media or dissemination of their reports, forced publication of information, the imposition of obstacles to the free flow of news, and restrictions on the activities and movements of journalists directly contradict freedom of the press” WHEREAS Principle 8 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes that “The membership of journalists in guilds, their affiliation to professional and trade associations and the affiliation of the media with business groups must be strictly voluntary” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the Government of Colombia to make its statements consistent with President Alvaro Uribe´s signature of the Declaration of Chapultepec and his assurances given orally to the IAPA that there will be no restrictions on press freedom during his administration to urge the Congress not to pass the law on accrediting journalists, given the enormous risks it entails for freedom of the press in Colombia to request that the Government of Colombia, the military and police guarantee the minimum conditions of safety for the practice of journalism.