Friday 25 June 2021

First Victims of “Gag Law”

Allan Ruiz, deputy minister of Telecomunications
Allan Ruiz, deputy minister of Telecomunications

QCOSTARICA – The first victims of the “draft” gag law to regulate radio and television broadcasting in Costa Rica are the minier of Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones (MICITT), Gisella Kopper, and the deputr ministerAllan Ruiz, the persons behind the drafting of the proposal.

A press release from Casa Presidencial on Thursday said President Luis Guillermo Solís has asked for the resignation of both Kopper and Ruiz.

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From Panama, attending the Summit of the Americas, Solís said both “failed in the supervision and the content of the draft bill,” requested by the Comptroller General (Contraloría General de la República), to regulate the operation of radio and television.

The presidential request is in line with Solis’ statement after the draft bill, (gag law) was made public, that the penalties contained in the text, is at the expense of freedom of expression and the exiting policy of open public opinion.

The draft bill, circulated on Monday, called for penalties that included closing radio and television stations for the transmission of content that with language that is vulgar and contrary to morality. A day later, the government backed down, saying the penalties clause would be removed from the draft, and on Wednesday we learned that the text was literally taken from the text of gag laws of various South American countries, including Venezuela.

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