COMPLIANCE WITH THE DECLARATION OF CHAPULTEPEC IN THE AMERICAS Principle 1 Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are violated, or at least threatened, throughout the hemisphere. Cuba stands out as the country where not only Principle 1 of the Declaration of Chapultepec but also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated most systematically and completely. The government monopoly of the media, reinforced by the jailing and persecution of those who attempt to practice independent journalism, are the cornerstone of a totalitarian system. None of the Chapultepec principles is observed in Cuba. Twenty-eight independent journalists are serving prison sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years in subhuman conditions, far from their families, with no medical attention and no respect for their other basic human rights. Four other journalists were already in jail at the time of the latest crackdown against the 28 who were most recently sentenced. Censorship in Cuba is absolute, to the point where it includes confiscation of people’s means for receiving news as well as independent journalists’ means for reporting the news. The rhetoric adopted by the Venezuelan government, its defiance of international human rights organizations, and legal and other action taken against the media raise fears that the deterioration of democracy in that country could lead to an equally severe violation of Principle 1 of the Declaration of Chapultepec. The proposed Content Law deserves special mention in this context, because it threatens to permanently nationalize the entire Venezuelan media. Principle 2 The court-ordered takeover of four newspapers and several broadcast media outlets in the Dominican Republic violates Principle 2 of the Declaration of Chapultepec. This measure is the result of the freezing of the owners’ assets following a court case for failure to pay debts, but the manner in which it was enforced prevents the publishers from exercising the rights set forth in Principle 2. There is also concern over the potential use of these media outlets to promote government policy, which involves the imposition of content from outside sources. The Brazilian National Congress is considering several bills designed to restrict the right to seek, receive and disseminate information. For this very purpose, police authorities and even the Federal Council of Medicine have taken administrative measures that restrict the practice of journalism. Principle 3 There are many governments in the hemisphere that restrict access to information. This access is more restricted in nations such as Brazil and Chile. Several countries, including Jamaica and Ecuador, are considering laws on freedom of information, but in some cases these initiatives, rather than expanding access to public information, could actually create new ways of concealing it. This is the case in Honduras, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico. In Peru all of the findings of an investigation into the tapping of the president’s phone calls were declared confidential. This confidentiality covers the name of those responsible for this breach of security. In the United States there is concern that the war on terrorism could encourage restrictions on the Freedom of Information Act. These restrictions are cause for concern not so much because of their severity as because they detract from the example that this country has set in this area. Significant progress has been made in Costa Rica on this matter, thanks to a series of decisions by the Constitutional Court. This court has ruled in favor of opening up sources of public information, and even lifted banking privilege in order to grant access to information on bank accounts used in political campaigns. The confidentiality of news sources is under severe attack in Mexico and Paraguay, where authorities in the judiciary and the Attorney General’s Office insist on requiring journalists to reveal information on their sources. However, the Mexican state of Morelos passed a constitutional reform protecting the confidentiality of sources, and the state of Coahuila is considering a similar measure. The Puerto Rican chief of police conducted an investigation into phone calls from reporters to officials in his office to determine if these officials were leaking reports to the press. In Ecuador, the head of the Armed Forces Joint Command publicly stated that just as journalists ask for transparency, they should be required to reveal their news sources. The U.S. Patriot Act would allow the government to access media files and news sources for national security reasons. One of the few countries showing progress in this matter is Uruguay, where recent court rulings have upheld the right to protect one’s sources. Also, laws have been adopted in Mexico to expand access to information. Principle 4 Murders of journalists and the failure to punish those responsible continue to be the primary obstacle to freedom of the press in Colombia, where five journalists have died in the past six months. Sixteen journalists left the region of Arauca under death threats, and seven others left the country for the same reason. Guerrillas from the FARC kidnapped two journalists, and 30 journalists reported receiving threats. In the past 15 years, the Human Rights Unit of the Attorney General's Office has investigated only 35 of the 112 cases of murdered journalists. In Brazil, three journalists lost their lives, but the authorities did arrest those involved in three other cases, which is cause for hope that such crimes will no longer go unpunished. Haiti is an example of widespread impunity, with kidnappings and threats against journalists continuing to the point where ten were forced to leave the country. A Guatemalan journalist died while covering incidents involving supporters of the ruling party, and several journalists were assaulted. In Guatemala, threats against journalists came to a head when the home of José Rubén Zamora, the editor of El Periódico, was invaded by a group of armed men who held him at gunpoint for several hours in front of his family. Other reporters have been targeted in similar assaults and threats. In countries such as Mexico and Costa Rica, there are still homicides of journalists that remain unsolved. A significant advance in the hemisphere is the Canadian law that punishes anyone who tries to intimidate a journalist in order to hinder his or her reporting of the news. During this period journalists also suffered physical assaults in Bolivia, Canada and Ecuador, among other countries. In Paraguay, Nicaragua and Peru, these assaults took the form of death threats or kidnappings. Principle 5 Recent reforms to the Canada Criminal Code could result in prior censorship because they expand the authority of judges to prohibit news reporting in criminal cases. The judiciary in Chile and Paraguay also used the law to prohibit the dissemination of news reports on court cases. In the United States, reforms to federal communications regulations have sparked debate on the free flow of information. According to opponents, the new measures will allow for the concentration of media ownership in few hands. The debate extends to the Spanish-language news media, where critics fear that the concentration of the media will harm healthy competition. On the other side of the debate are doubts as to whether the government may, under the constitution, say who can or cannot own media outlets. Principle 6 Discrimination against the media based on what they publish has occurred in Guatemala and Nicaragua, where important newspapers have been targeted in special, arbitrary scrutiny by tax authorities. Principle 7 The restriction of purchases of hard currency in Venezuela makes it difficult for media companies to acquire necessary supplies and assets to update their infrastructure. The Venezuelan government also uses the concession of licenses to pressure broadcast media, and on October 3 it seized the microwave equipment of Globovisión Canal 33 using legal justifications that had no merit. In Argentina, a new radio broadcasting law has raised concerns about news diversity by putting broadcast media in the hands of provincial and municipal authorities without open bidding. Small and medium-sized newspapers are discriminated against in the enforcement of the Value Added Tax Principle 8 In Nicaragua, the mandatory licensing of journalists has not been implemented for merely procedural reasons, but the law is in effect despite the disapproval of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights. The government and journalists’ unions in Ecuador expressed their disagreement with this principle, which they initially invoked as a reason not to sign the Declaration of Chapultepec, even though the current Constitution establishes the freedom of association. In keeping with the dictates of the Inter-American Court, Colombia’s Constitutional Court upheld the universality of the right to inform and rejected any limitations such as those the Journalists’ Law would have imposed. President Mireya Moscoso vetoed a law that would have established a system of government licensing to practice journalism in Panama. Principle 9 The authorities and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru are investigating the complicity of some media companies in arbitrary acts of the government of Alberto Fujimori. These companies, ignoring ethics and law, helped to repress legitimate Peruvian journalism with disinformation campaigns to damage its reputation. The imposition of ethical requirements on the press by the authorities has caused debate in Bolivia, where President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada proposed unsuccessfully to establish a state supervisory agency. A debate also arose in Ecuador as a result of the “national dialogues” called by the government. President Lucio Gutiérrez said he would send Congress a law regulating the work of the press to prevent the spread of gossip and groundless news. A few days later he gave up the initiative, but said he would use the existing law for the same purpose. Principle 10 The legal framework in which the media of this hemisphere do their work is excessively restrictive, with the exception of a handful of countries. In Brazil, the press is constantly threatened by the high punitive damages awarded by the courts. In Chile, initiatives to eliminate the legal concept of insult are not progressing, but a constitutional reference to defamation was repealed. In Costa Rica, efforts to change the restrictive legal framework are not advancing. The prosecution of a columnist for the daily El Tiempo caused fears that a crime of opinion might be established in Colombia. And in the Dominican Republic, in spite of existing laws to the contrary, a number of journalists have been arrested. In Mexico and Paraguay, criminal charges of defamation are increasing at an alarming rate. On top of political pressures on the judiciary in Ecuador, the Chamber of Commerce of Guayaquil is trying to add a new law that would redefine and expand the concept of defamation. In Honduras, defamation and libel carry sentences ranging from six to nine years in prison. In Panama, the authorities have yet to repeal the gag laws that date from the days of the dictatorship and establish severe penalties for the media, including the possibility of ordering their permanent closure. A Peruvian congressman is currently using the court system to intimidate the newspaper El Comercio, which faces a defamation lawsuit for an estimated $50 million. The court hearing the case levied an attachment on the property of the defendants without determining the amount, and this endangers the newspaper’s viability. The IAPA is actively collaborating in preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society, for the purpose of supporting efforts to close the digital gap by enabling everyone to access the benefits of information technologies. However, in spite these efforts, other groups are putting forth in the Summit’s leadership bodies opposing objectives designed to distort the role of the free press, radio and television, for the purpose of intervening in and controlling the content and ownership of the media under supposed collective rights to information