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Presidency Published Gag Law Against Journalists and the Media
Journalism College Had Asked Legislators to Annul Punishment on Themes of Public Interest

By elpais.cr

The Presidency of the Republic on Tuesday, November 6th published in La Gaceta the law that will punish journalists and citizens with up to 10 years in prison if they disseminate “secret political information.”

The publication of the Ley de Delitos Informáticos (Law of Information Crimes), known as the “Gag Law,” has generated reactions from the College of Journalists of Costa Rica, whose president, Jose Rodolfo Ibarra, told broadcasters that freedom of expression was taken away from communicators. 

The guild had presented reforms to modify articles 167, 196, 196 bis, 231 and 236, but due to opposition from the libertarian legistalors and the ruling National Liberation Party (PLN), the initiative has not succeeded in the Legislative Assembly. 


These articles punish the dissemination, search for and access of personal information, while the press has requested that punishment not be rendered when dealing with issues of public interest. 

Although the term “political secret” already existed in the penal code, the approved amendment doesn’t limit it to things that affect national security but rather includes “political secrets or bodies of security or organized crime,” with punishment of up to 10 years in prison. 

“As of this moment, everyone, and I repeat, everyone of us is under the latent threat of being investigated, persecuted, captured, tried and taken to prison, with sentences varying between four and 10 years in prison, with no possibility of conditional execution of the sentence, or in other words, with no possibility of parole,” wrote Ibarra in an editorial published by Elpais.cr in the opinion section.

According to this law, publishing secret political information, utilizing a nickname on social networks, or obtaining information using technological tools, like emails, social networks, videos, photographs or any type of digital recording, that, by the criteria of the affected party, has or will cause them harm, will be subject to legal prosecution and therefore subject to prison sentences, Ibarra explained.  

“I call your attention to the following: If in the past this so-called gag law had been applied, information about the cases of the Fischel Fund, Alcatel, Processes – Recope, the border road, the memorandum of the pro TLC fear, the Social Security Fund collection agent, the use and abuse of public resources, the bridge over Virilla better known as the platina, the rulings of the Ethics Legal Office, the lifting of legislative immunities, or unpunished political actions…would not have been made known, and if they had done so many journalists would still be serving prison sentences,” he assured.  

Ibarra explained that “even complaints via social networks made under a nickname and the avatar most feared by corrupt public officials, the “chamuko,” would be subject to political investigations along the lines of the Gestapo, the CIA, the KGB or any other political secret police.” 

“Criticisms on opinion programs would receive lawsuits daily. Commentaries like this one or editorials would be censured. Going into political campaigns, Costa Rican citizens wouldn’t be able to know who is trying to govern us,” he warned. 

“We’re calling for the Presidency of the Republic to fulfill its promise to send our proposed law for public freedoms project to the Legislative Assembly, which we have prepared along with mass media communication lawyers and legal advisors of the Institute for Freedom of Expression and of this College of Journalists of Costa Rica,” urged Ibarra.   


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There are Now 16 Real Estate Frauds in Nosara

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Public Force and OIJ Deal a Blow to the Stolen Goods Market in Nicoya

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CONAVI Temporarily Stepped In Over Río Montaña Bridge

Last Friday November 2nd the Concejo Nacional de Vialidad (National Highway Council- CONAVI) repaired damages to the bridge over Río Montaña.

New rules for vehicle technical inspection (RTV) in January

A police officer from the Fuerza Publica, driving while intoxicated, crossed into oncoming traffic and caused a head on collision with another vehicle, killing its driver.

Drunken Nicoya police officer kills driver in head-on collision

A police officer from the Fuerza Publica, driving while intoxicated, crossed into oncoming traffic and caused a head on collision with another vehicle, killing its driver.

Letter from the Editors
Celebrating Ten Years of Connecting Communities, and More to Come

For ten years now, the Voice of Nosara has been serving Nosara and the surrounding communities with the goal of connecting and uniting people—not just people in different towns but people of different backgrounds, nationalities and languages.

Citizen Journalists (THAT MEANS YOU!) Are Shaping the Future of Reporting

“Citizen journalism” has become a standard part of the way we gather and report news. But that was not always so.

Interview with Liza Vogt, Voice of Nosara’s First Publisher

Why was the newspaper started? 
VON was started for two reasons: to dispel many of the rumors that were constantly flying around Nosara and also to inform residents and tourists of current situations and upcoming events.

Most Talked About Stories

Our editors reviewed every print edition of The Voice of Nosara from October 2002 until September 2012 and chose the most talked about stories based on letters to the editor, comments made to reporters or on Facebook and follow-up stories.

The Most Repeated Themes During Ten Year

Our editors reviewed every print edition of The Voice of Nosara from October 2002 until September 2012 and counted how many articles were printed on each subject.

“They want to kick us out when we’ve lived here all our lives,”
Oscar Chavarría, resident of Garza

“I’ve lived here for 30 years and now they tell us that they want to annul our property titles and kick us out of our homes,” commented Oscar Chavarria indignantly. He lives in Playa Garza with his wife and daughter.


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