The 14 journalists killed in Latin America in the past six months, a toll that ranks among the highest in the last 20 years; the secret seizure of the telephone records of Associated Press reporters by the United States Justice Department; the implacable acquisition of media outlets by autocratic governments; passage of a communication law in Ecuador; and the persistent lack of access to public information in a number of countries were among the greatest obstacles to press freedom in the Western Hemisphere during the last six months. The annual General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), held October 18–22 in Denver, Colorado, condemned the 14 killings of journalists (three in Mexico, two in Brazil, two in Colombia, two in Guatemala, two in Haiti and one each in Ecuador, Honduras and Paraguay) and strenuously criticized the expiration of the statute of limitations for 17 killings of journalists (five in Colombia and 12 in Mexico), as impunity and a weak or subservient judiciary are the driving forces behind the violence. Also during this period, three journalists were forced to leave their respective countries (two from Colombia and one from Honduras), and two foreign correspondents were expelled by the Nicaraguan government. The IAPA shares the concern of like-minded organizations in the United States over the direction of press freedom in this country, which has been shaken by revelations of spying on journalists and others. This concern was voiced by Gary Pruitt, president of the Associated Press, who described for the General Assembly how fear of government surveillance has led some of the news agency’s sources to engage in self-censorship. The IAPA noted that the U.S. Congress remains reluctant to pass a law to protect the confidential nature of sources—one that would prevent journalists from ending up behind bars—and urged the State Department to fully comply with the recommendations submitted by an IAPA delegation that visited Washington, D.C., earlier this year. The IAPA also expressed its concern over limited access to public information, which continues to hinder the pursuit of journalism in countries such as Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela, among others. Some countries, meanwhile, lack laws on access to information, with a prevailing culture of government secrecy in which, for example, presidents and public officials in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela refuse to grant interviews or hold press conferences. In addition, press freedom was adversely affected during these last six months by various forms of economic coercion, such as the mass-scale acquisition of media outlets by governments, either directly or through persons tied to them, in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina for the purpose of turning them not into public-service media outlets, but into tools of partisan and ideological propaganda. This coercion is also on display in discriminatory patterns in the placement of government advertising in independent media outlets. In Venezuela, the government’s discriminatory actions go so far as to include the refusal to authorize foreign currency for the importation of supplies not manufactured in the country, such as newsprint. In Argentina, the government pressured advertisers to cause financial harm to such outlets. Another restrictive measure in Argentina, the Media Law, is now before the Supreme Court, which may issue a ruling that reflects relevant international standards. Meanwhile, countries such as Colombia, Panama and Brazil, among others, have seen a burgeoning “industry” of trials and lawsuits as a means of harassing the media. Ecuador is the scene of the harshest form of censorship. Set to go into effect on June 25, the Communication Law will create two government bodies—a council and a superintendency—that will serve to control and censor media content, in addition to compelling media outlets to regulate themselves. In Cuba, as Yoani Sánchez described, economic reforms have not been accompanied by improvements in press freedom. On the contrary, the situation has been exacerbated by constant repression and arbitrary detentions of journalists. Lastly, the General Assembly repeatedly emphasized the need to confront the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela—members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA)—in their determination to weaken the inter-American human rights system, in particular the Office of Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is the constant target of its attacks. The General Assembly noted that the IAPA has supported the strengthening of the inter-American system during this period through direct discussions with heads of state and diplomatic envoys to the Organization of American States.