Rico’s TICO BULL Journalist Freddy Serrano writes on social media he was verbally and physically assaulted by a private security guard, by the last name Santos, at the Antigua Aduana (old customs building) while taking photos of the building, a public building, and from the sidewalk.

Freddy writes, “Santos told me that I could not direct the lens of my camera to the building in accordance with the provisions of the Ministerio De Cultura y Juventud (Ministry of Culture & Youth). Even though I tried to tell Mr. Santos I was in a public place; I got pushed and threatened. How many times will we have to give a bit of civic culture on the basic rights of citizens to those who protect public buildings?”

This is the building,t he Antigua Aduana (old customs house) Freddy Serrano was told he could not photograph and then assaulted, verbally and physically, by a private security guard

Freddy is not a tourist, a well-known and respected reporter in Costa Rica. My question, what if this had been a tourist? Would it even have been reported? Sad.


Some of the more than 100 comments on Facebook include:

Since when it is forbidden to take photographs of a public building of an institution in which my salary lowers me to keep it in good condition?? I support you Freddy, and you can never allow an assault on the part of someone guarding the place! Unacceptable. Gloriana S.

Because they don’t put signs explaining why you can’t take pictures but that’s weird because they’re doing a lot of publicity that visits historical places in San Jose and they certainly all carry their cameras and let them use them and then? Auxiliadora C.

I wonder about this situation that happened to this gentleman, as it is intended to attract tourists to San José if people can’t take pictures of the country’s architecture, that would be as much as going to Rome and not take pictures of the Coliseum or To China and not to be able to photograph the wall. More Anti-tourists and anti-International International Projection. Elena A.

Costa Rica is a nation of rights, of freedoms. One of the top reasons why many us foreigners choose to live in Costa Rica.

What is disturbing here is the violent reaction of the security guard.

I cannot think of the existence of any law in Costa Rica that prohibits the taking photos of public buildings. Or any building for that matter. Nor should there be one. In particular buildings of historical importance like the Antigua Aduana.

What is next, no photos of the Teatro Nacional? The Correos (Post Office), the display in front of the Banco Central, the Banco Nacional?

Costa Rica is a photographer’s playground. You’ll never run out of subjects

The actions of one, let us hope, do not speak for the many.

To make his point, Freddy is urging one and all, on Oct. 1, to take photos public places to reproach policies of censorship of public institutions like the MCJ. “I invite you to join me and tell your friends amateur or professional photographers,” write Freddy. More info on the event #tomemosfotos.

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