CONCLUSIONS This has been a grim year for freedom of the press in the hemisphere. Fifteen journalists were murdered for practicing their profession. Journalists were assaulted, kidnapped, intimidated and exiled by paramilitary forces, guerrilla groups, drug and people trafficking gangs, local political bosses and even civilian and military authorities. Violence appears to have become the preferred means used by these groups to respond to criticism, opinions, information and investigations appearing in newspapers. It is ironic that in one country where reporters suffer violence there are legislative efforts constituting a serious threat to journalism by aiming to regulate it on the basis that “journalism poses a risk to society.” This is the case in Colombia where two journalists have been murdered, 17 have been victims of vandalism, five have left the country because of threats and four have been kidnapped. The journalists’ quest for truth has produced advances in the fight against corruption, drug trafficking and instigation of political violence, which are the real risks that Colombians are facing – not the press. On the eve of a historic political shift in Mexico, violence against journalists is on the rise. Three journalists were murdered in the past six months, and there are indications that one victim had 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of marijuana planted in his car to conceal the motive for his slaying. The case aroused indignation among journalists, politicians and nongovernmental organizations, which demanded that a special prosecutor be named to investigate the case. The failure to search for and punish the killers of journalists remains the norm in Mexico. In this abusive climate, it’s no surprise that there is a flagrant contradiction with renewed calls for a communication law to limit print media and journalists under the slogan of establishing “limits to excessive power and freedom of the media in Mexico.” Cuba maintained the same hard-line control over the press and independent Cuban journalists. Foreign correspondents are still detained and expelled. Cuban reporters still suffer harassment, arrest, seizure of their correspondence, and the prohibition from leaving the country. Others have had to go into exile. At the same time, the island is being opened for some U.S. media organizations which are in the process of opening permanent bureaus in Havana. The trend to enact press laws continues in the hemisphere with dangers and consequences. The totalitarian-like precedent of the 1999 Venezuelan constitution, which says “every person has the right to timely, truthful and impartial information” could inspire in other countries an eagerness for regulation, leading to the creation of norms governing the timeliness, truthfulness and impartiality of news. It seems like a caricature, but it is a sad reality that the legislatures of several countries are studying special press laws. In most of those countries, an error in a news story or an accusation of defamation could lead to trials against journalists with possible prison sentences. Sixteen countries have insult laws which create special protection for public officials. These insult laws remain distant from any concept of democracy. The Inter American Press Association was pleased to receive news that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States will promote a declaration that will strengthen press freedom in the hemisphere and provide guidelines for the recently established Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The struggle of peoples and journalists to defend and preserve freedom of press and the right to diverse information continues in the hemisphere, overcoming the obstacles in its way. Every step back requires new effort and sacrifice. Journalists are fulfilling their mission despite the murders, threats, intimidation and kidnappings.