Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Government Backs Down On Gag Law On Radio and Television

El viceministro de Telecomunicaciones, Allan Ruiz, y la ministra del Micitt, Gisela Kopper
Deputy minister of Telecommunications, Allan Ruiz (left) and the Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), Gisela Kopper

QCOSTARICA – The draft bill General Broadcasting (Ley General de Radiodifusión) – gag law, proposing severe penalties, including closure, on radio and television broadcasters, sparked fierce opposition from various sectors.

The bill was intended, among other things, to close radio and television stations broadcasting vulgar language or  or stepped out of tune with what is considered contrary to morality by the government.

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Given the outcry by the industry, business in general and a large number of legislators, the Executive Branch, through its Minister of Science, Technology and Telecommunications (MICITT), Gisela Kopper, said it would exclude the controversial penalty system, which ranges from huge fines to revocation of licenses.

“It is an aberration, it is unacceptable, dangerous and against the principles of freedom of expression,” said Albino Vargas, the secretary general of the National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP), one of the largest unions in Costa Rica.

The Legislature, initiated by the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC), approved unanimously a motion for Kopper give explanations on the proposal. The hearing would be in August.

“This (the proposal) was circulated for discussion, never expected this would be the final document, our spirit is to have an open dialogue,” argued Kopper.

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