I (Vicki Skinner - aka "THE Sarong Goddess") created this blog in 2007 to share DETAILED Finds•Lists•Info•Events•Experiences to help bring more EASE to people living in, visiting or thinking of moving to Costa Rica since DETAILS are NOT easy to find!
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

CENSORSHIP • GAG LAW in Costa Rica - Doesn't it basically PROTECT Corrupt Lawmakers?

Since I'm not a citizen - I'm not commenting!  I'll leave this decision on what this is about strictly up to you to determine what it's about!!   BUT - I have 2 questions (questions I CAN ask) -

#1  -  Doesn't this potentially make Costa Rica along the lines of China with censorship - at least when it comes to this issue??  Doesn't it basically give Carte Blanche to corrupt politicians and if someone uncovers the corruption - THEY could go to jail for up to 10 years??????  

Anyone else's 3rd eye going off BIG TIME on this???   WHY is this law being created??  WHAT MIGHT be being hidden NOW TO create such a law and for lawmakers to pass it with such ease?????????????

I don't know if anything has scared me for the Tico people in my 8-1/2 years of having some sort of connection with Costa Rica!!!  Do the people get the SERIOUSNESS of this??  The repercussions????

From November 22, 2012
Legislative committee votes to advance gag law fixes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers hurried through a reform of a new and controversial law Wednesday in an effort to change what has become known as the gag law.

The members of the Comisión de Derechos Humanos sent the measure forward despite the wishes of one member that experts and representatives of interested organizations be brought in to give their views.

This is the measure that would penalize the distribution of what are called political secrets. Journalism organizations have said this was an effort by lawmakers to protect themselves from negative news.

Coincidentally, one of the lawmakers coordinating this effort is Jorge Angulo Mora. He has been accused of influence peddling and is facing criminal proceedings. The news media spearheaded a look into this situation.

The text of the proposed changes to the existing law was not available Wednesday night. Reports from the legislature said that the new rewrite would exempt journalistic efforts from the law's penalties. Some penalties also have been reduced.

Those who have protested the law have pointed out that not just news people are affected by the new law but that citizens, too, have a right to look into government activities.

The proposed rewrite creates a new section in the law that prevents punishment for those who seek information that is deemed to be in the public interest except as it relates to minors.

Oscar Alfaro Zamora, a member of the committee said Wednesday that he would prefer to hear from experts and representatives of the journalistic community before sending the measure forward. But that idea was rejected by the majority of the committee.

The original bill that generated so much controversy when it was published earlier this month in the La Gazeta official newspaper had gone through all the agencies that review proposed legislation including the courts. The Colegio de Periodistas, the journalistic professional group, has been protesting the measure for months but it passed the legislation anyway and was signed into law by President Laura Chinchilla.

The existing law provides prison for from four to eight years for disclosing political secrets, among other offenses. The colegio argues that this would prevent investigative reporting.


Controversial POLITICAL SECRETS Law called a
BIG judicial mess
SOURCE:  AMCostaRica.com

A penal expert told lawmakers Wednesday that a new criminal law is the biggest judicial mess that he has seen in 30 years.

The expert, Juan Diego Castro Fernández, was talking about the new infotec law that creates, among other things, a political secrets act. Much of the law is clearly unconstitutional, but lawmakers passed it anyway, and President Laura Chinchilla signed it.

Castro said that the law does not only affect newspeople but also citizens. He said he was concerned by what he called the dangerous judicialization of politics.

The measure penalized with prison the disclosure of what it calls political secrets but does not define these secrets. The law also prohibits the use of handles or pen names in computerized messages.

Journalism groups are up in arms about the law, which they have battled for months. They were appalled that Ms. Chinchilla signed the document and that it was published as a law in the La Gazeta official newspaper. Penalties run up to eight years in jail.

Castro said that the law was not a gag but a guillotine with draconian penalties. The law also prohibits suspended sentences for those convicted.

The Colegio de Periodistas and other groups have been fighting the law for months. The colegio, the journalist professional group, said Friday that an action of unconstitutionality has been filed against the law by the Defensoría de los Habitantes. The colegio is expected to file a companion action.

The law comes after a long series of disclosures in the press of various aspects of corruption from the Alcatel bribery scandal to the current problems with the Ruta 1856 at the northern border of the country.

Castro was testifying before the Comisión Permanente Especial  de Derechos Humanos.

Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia, a lawmaker, said that his party, the Partido Acción Ciudadana, was preparing a substitute text for the law. President Chinchilla has promised to do the same thing.

The law is called in Spanish by opponents the Ley Mordaza or "gag law"

Here are some other takes on it:

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