IAPA Midyear Meeting 2018
Medellin, Colombia
In a troubling development, the executive branch issued a decree on January 21 calling for bids from potential contractors to provide services for "media monitoring" and "strategic press relations." Under this initiative from the Office of the President, a company will be hired to "indicate the scope, date, topics covered, spokespeople, outlets in which published, assessment of media agenda, and tone of news stories" and "quantitatively and qualitatively report on media activity."

The media and some legislators reacted negatively to this news, deeming this a way for the government to monitor and potentially control journalists and media outlets, which in turn would have an adverse effect on journalism.

On April 4, the Presidency of the Republic finally removed the profile of the settler from his page.

At a February 22 demonstration of farmers, and in the presence of journalists, President Tabaré Vázquez had a heated argument with a settler who called him a "liar." Twenty-four hours later, the website of the Office of the President posted a profile of the settler, using data from the National Land Settlement Institute that showed him as being delinquent on debt payments. This is a surprising move in a country that forbids revealing the names of first-time offenders so as to avoid subjecting people to stigma.

The following statement was posted: "The member of the Settlers Council who accused President Tabaré Vázquez of being a liar is Mr. Gabriel Arrieta, who resides on settlement lands (INC) in Kiyú, San José. His debts to INC date back to 2008, and he has never paid to use government land. He was reported by farmers. The eviction process has been underway since 2013 and is now before the judicial system."

Despite receiving harsh criticism, the Office of the President did not remove this statement from its website.

On January 10, President Vázquez appointed Ernesto Kremeirman as the new director of Televisión Nacional de Uruguay, despite the fact that the Coalition for Democratic Media—which includes more than 30 civic organizations—had deemed this appointment illegal. The new director owns a radio station, and, under the Media Act, the heads of public media services may not have ties to companies related to radio or television.