GUATEMALA WHEREAS the credibility of journalists and the press is of significant value in the performance of their task as information providers, which must always be in the service of public opinion WHEREAS the government has a duty to safeguard freedom of expression in every sense of the term, as established in the Guatemalan Constitution, with the further aim of protecting the public's right to be informed WHEREAS exposés of corruption, impunity and political manipulation of the VHF-channel television monopoly have resulted in independent press outlets and some journalists, and specifically the editors of the newspapers Prensa Libre and El Periódico, being targeted in a smear campaign by two television and one radio news programs that serve the interests of the Minister of Communications, Luis Rabbé, who has ties to the aforesaid monopoly WHEREAS the administration of President Alfonso Portillo has publicly tolerated the actions of its cabinet minister without intervening to prevent potential harm to the independent press, and a number of public officials are known to withhold information from the press, despite constitutional guarantees of free access to sources of information WHEREAS there have been veiled death threats against journalists, and the smear campaign includes misinformation and intimidation that endanger the safety of those working in journalism in a country with a sad history of violence against the press THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to condemn any and all acts aimed at discrediting journalists and newspapers to demand that the administration of President Alfonso Portillo act clearly and firmly in accordance with freedom of the press, and impose the penalties provided by law on those public officials who fail to fully respect constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press to request that the special rapporteur on freedom of the press of the OAS, Santiago Cantón, closely monitor developments and intervene, to the extent he is able to do so to send a special delegation to Guatemala, to establish the state of affairs in loco and communicate directly to the Guatemalan representative the concern of the press throughout the hemisphere over affronts of this kind to the credibility of the press.