CONCLUSIONS Throughout the Americas, freedom of expression is in a period of paradox. The advocates of democracy have won most of their struggles to restore and consolidate governments committed to human rights and freedom of expression. The regimes in Cuba and Haiti now stand out in isolation as remnants of a dark past when repression and dictatorship ruled many parts of the hemisphere. Yet there is vivid fresh evidence that freedom of expression remains seriously at risk despite the sweep of democracy through the Americas. The presumption that press freedom is no longer in danger is unfortunately incorrect. Through our country by country reports, we have learned sadly of these disturbing trends: First, murder remains a favored tool of the enemies of free expression. In Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and Guatemala, a total of 22 journalists were murdered during the last six months. Second, the kidnapping of Cristián Edwards of El Mercurio in Santiago, Chile, seven weeks ago has certain parallels with the kidnapping of Francisco Santos of El Tiempo in Bogotá, Colombia, earlier this year. The fact that both are, of course, members of families publishing important newspapers suggests such newspapers and members of their owning families are at special risk now that terrorists, drug traffickers, paramilitary groups and common criminals are targeting the free press as an important obstacle to their activities. Third, even though some of the new democratically-elected governments express strong interest in a free press, they are failing to take actions to support their commitments. In Mexico, harassers threaten journalists, break into their offices and homes and operate under a "halo of impunity" because the government neither condones nor takes action against such activities. In Venezuela, journalists are starting to endure similar harassment as they seek to expose corruption in government at the highest levels. The democratically-elected government apparently tolerates the abuse. Other instances pccurred recently in Guatemala. Horrendous and blatant as these threats and acts of violence are, they aren't the only obstacles to free expression in the new era of democracy. Indeed, it is becoming clear that non-violent pressures, tactics and actions are accelerating and can be -and sometimes are - just as effective in suppressing free expression as are the brutal acts of secret break-ins, kidnappers and assassins. Consider the case of Editora Panamá-América. The owners of Editora Panamá América lost their newspaper when it was confiscated 21 years ago. During the intervening years, Panama's dictatorship ran the newspaper. Now the dictatorship is gone, yet the owners of Editora Panamá América are unable to resume operations of their newspaper because they are being held liable for debts and labor obligations of those who appropriated the newspaper during the period of its confiscation. Pleas to Panama's new president by the owners and by representatives of the IAPA have so far been to no avail. The rulings of courts adverse to journalists and free expression are increasing and sometimes setting precedents by breaking new legal ground. Among the most worrisorne cases in recent months: • Jailing of a journalist in Paraguay on criminal charges in a case involving allegations of slander. • The ruling of a court of appeals in the United States, which allows telephone companies in the U.S. to enter the information business and thus compete directly with newspapers and other providers of information which depend on the use of telephones. This ruling is significant to the press in other countries in the Hemisphere where government-owned telephone companies are being sold, or may be sold, to private companies, which often remain as monopolies . • The use of libellaws to pressure the press is also growing in a troublesome way. In some cases, government institutions are seeking protection under libel statutes to protect individuals. And in the U.S., the average size of damage awards in libel cases has increased ten fold in the last two years, according to a recent study. A continuing problem in the Hemisphere are new press laws which often have the effect of trying to put journalists under government supervision or otherwise curbing the flow of information and expression. Especially important current examples are in Brazil and Colombia where new laws are shaped under provisions of new constitutions in each country. While threats to free expression are still a fact of life in the new era of democracy, it can be said in very few places that such freedom is nonexistent. Cuba is the glaring example of where there is no freedom of expression. In Haiti, there is simply no press. Fortunately, in most countries, freedom of expression does exist even though there are abuses and threats. One country where the situation has improved is Nicaragua, which recently ended the state monopoly on television and where there is now an uncensored press with a wide variety of opinions. Free expression is a fundamental right that is basic to any democracy. But this right is not a license to hound, harass and abuse. There is a growing sense among many editors and publishers in the Hemisphere that now is a good time for publications and othet. practitioners of free expression to reexamine their standards and principIes to insure fairness in coverage and ethical behavior and professionalism in the conduct of journalism. Only to the extent that advocates of a free press conduct their business in an ethical, credible and trustworthy manner wiIl the complaints about threats to free expression be taken seriously by the public.