By: Editorial Staff THE NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION of America's governing board has thrown its support behind the Western Hemisphere Free Press Declaration, a sort of First Amendment for the Americas. The declaration of basic press freedoms was signed by non-governmental groups and individuals at a conference in Mexico City in March. "Endorsing this declaration affirms our commitment to protecting these rights whenever they are in danger," said NAA chairman Charles Brumback, who is also chairman and CEO of Tribune Co. In other developments, the Inter American Press Association, which is championing the document, known as the Declaration of Chapultepec, for the palace in which it was signed, has accepted a $120,000 grant to push for wider acceptance. The grant came from the McCormick Tribune Foundation, which also supported the free speech conference in Mexico. The presidents of Mexico and Guatemala have already signed the declaration, and IAPA hopes to gain international judicial confirmation of its principles as "customary law" in the Americas at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. "Now it's time to spread the word and gain widespread support for these essential principles, foundation president Neal Creighton said. He said the grant would help IAPA "to maintain the momentum generated at Chapultepec to ensure that this important declaration does not gather dust on a shelf."