CONCLUSIONS It is still open season on journalists in the Americas. Eight newsmen have been murdered in the past six months. Five of them were killed in Colombia and one each in Guatemala, Uruguay and Mexico. This brings to 218 the number of journalists slain in the hemisphere the past 11 years – and in nearly all cases the guilty have yet to be brought to justice. The Inter American Press Association has conducted its own investigations and has succeeded in having the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Human Rights Commission call on the government of Mexico to open new official investigations into the murders of Víctor Manuel Oropeza and Héctor Félix Miranda. The IAPA has also created a Rapid Response Unit, which is currently investigating nine recent murder cases. Every effort in this regard is hardly sufficient given the indescribable seriousness of the situation. In presumably democratic countries new forms of manipulation or muzzling have appeared. In Peru, for example, the government appears to be prepared to remove any vestige of legitimacy from the upcoming elections with constant attacks on journalists and newspapers. The prestigious Lima daily El Comercio has been the object in recent days of verbal abuse that – given the government’s history – presages ostensibly legal actions whose sole aim is to silence the independent press. The inclusion of a provision on the misguided principle of “truthful, impartial and opportune” news in Venezuela’s new Constitution underscores the seriousness of the plight of newspapers and press freedom in that country. In Colombia, murders, threats, kidnappings and exile continue to haunt journalists. Courage is called for to work as a journalist. In Chile, a reporter from La Tercera was sentenced to 541 days in prison for breaking the State Security Law, which continues to be used as an insult law to protect authorities from alleged defamation, libel and slander. In Cuba, harassment, intimidation and jailing of independent journalists continues. Along with the attacks from governments, drug traffickers, guerrillas and paramilitary groups mounted in many areas of the continent, certain court decisions also violate the principles of press freedom enshrined in every inter-American treaty. In Costa Rica, a Supreme Court ruling required the daily La Nación to publish the full text of the ruling itself – which took up 10 full pages of one issue of the paper. Seeking to deepen its intrusion into journalism, the Mexican government decided that the state-owned news agency Notimex would also operate as an advertising agency. The panorama of the press in the Americas would be even bleaker were it not for the reaction of the public, journalists and newspapers that practice freedom of expression and challenge those in power to build democratic and free societies.