QCOSTARICA – The draft gag law (ley mordaza), that intends to regulate the press in Costa Rica, prepared by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones – MICITT), is right of the pages of regulations in Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Spain.
The National Chamber of Radio and Television of Costa Rica (Cámara Nacional de Radio y Televisión de Costa Rica – CANARTEL), in its announcement of the “copy and paste”, provided concrete examples of text of articles by South American countries to regulate their local radio and television broadcasts. The examples, in Spanish, are included in the report by La Nacion.
“We can not accept the government’s draft or as a base document for discussion because the textual copy of laws of other countries is evident (…),” said Vanessa Castro, attorney for the CANARTEL.
MICITT Minister, Gisela Kopper, was absent from the CANARTEL forum, although she had confirmed their participation.
Present, however, was the vice-minister of Telecommunications, Allan Ruiz, who on Monday told La Nacion that he and his deputy minister were responsible for the document. However, following the Wednesday afternoon forum, La Nacion says Ruiz did not assume responsibility for the document and its similarity with foreign laws.
“Sanctions are only one point of all errors that have this document (…)”, said Ewal Acuña Blanco, a lawyer and former judge.
Minister Kopper said the document “was a very big human error” and hoped to improve the text before taking it to the legislative process.
For his part, President Luis Guillermo Solis insists that the text is just “a discussion document”, part of as a new workflow in his government.
Solis said it is “a fatal error” to undermine freedom of the press, but stressed the need to reform the current law that is in force since 1954, in an effort to modernize the use of radio spectrum in the country.