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Uruguay Meeting Plugs Free Press

November 17, 1998

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay (AP) _ The outgoing president of the Inter American Press Association lamented the slayings of 26 journalists in the past year and urged publishers Tuesday to fight obstacles to press freedom.

IAPA, the largest grouping of newspaper publishers from across the Americas, also elected 20 new members to its board of directors at its annual convention in this South American resort.

``Twenty-six journalists have been killed in the past year and that’s ... a horrifying statistic,″ said departing IAPA president Oliver F. Clarke, chairman of The Gleaner Company Limited in Jamaica.

He said IAPA sent 66 protests to governments in 1998 over attacks on journalists or infringement on press liberties. IAPA also sent nine missions to investigate the most serious cases during the year.

``We continue to investigate the murders of journalists and to urge governments″ to prosecute those responsible for the deaths, Clarke said.

He urged continuing IAPA pressure on countries that have failed to prosecute those responsible for attacks on journalists.

Clarke also said 18 heads of states and the Washington-based Organization of American States had endorsed IAPA’s Chapultepec Project, a charter document on press freedom.

But while the Chapultepec endorsements were a highlight, Clarke has said the operation of a free press in Latin America faces some real and major obstacles.

In other developments:

Elected to the board of directors from U.S. publications were Robert J. Cox of The News and Courier, Charleston, S.C.; Diana Daniels of The Washington Post; Gregory Favre of The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, Calif.; Jack Fuller of the Chicago Tribune; Earl Maucker of the Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Sergio Munoz of the Los Angeles Times; Laurence G. O’Donnell of The Wall Street Journal; Robert Rivard of the San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas; Scott C. Schurz of the Herald-Times, Bloomington, Ind.; Paul C. Tash of the St. Petersburg Times, Fla.

Elected to the board from outside the United States were Washington Beltran of El Pais, Montevideo, Uruguay; Felipe Edwards of El Mercurio, Santiago, Chile; Jose Santiago Healy of El Imparcial, Hermosillo, Mexico; Saturnino Herrero Mitjans of Clarin, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Roberto Eduardo Romero of El Tribuno, Salta, Argentina; Renato Simoes of A Tarde, Salvador, Brazil; Jayme Sirotsky of RBS, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Eduardo Ulibarri of La Nacion, San Jose, Costa Rica; Aldo Zuccolillo of ABC Color, Asuncion, Paraguay.