The annual report of the Interamerican Press Association (IPA) conference, that this year was held in Santiago, revealed that seventeen reporters from the Americas had been killed in the last twelve months.
Three presidents, Mr. De la Rúa from Argentina, Mr. Jorge Batlle from Uruguay and Mr. Ricardo Lagos from the host country Chile, were present at the meeting that convened almost 450 editors and media officials from the hemisphere.
The IPA report also pointed to several countries where freedom of the press in under attack, both legally and violently, among which Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
According to the report there are other countries such as Chile and Brazil, where governments are attempting to pass legislation that severely restricts freedom of the press and makes reporting legally very risky. In Brazil that has been recently rocked by several political scandals, Congress is considering a bill, ("muzzle bill") that would ban civil servants, police and the Judiciary from talking to the press.
In Argentina several inland newspapers that exposed local governments experienced reprisals in the form of threats to reporters, discrimination with government publicity, attacks on distributors and even Judicial interference.
Concerning Uruguay the IPA report claims that distribution of government publicity has become a contentious issue; that a police investigation into alleged phone bugging remains unsolved and that the Montevideo newspaper distribution union following a price dispute limited circulation.