Costa Rica | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


Costa Rica's independent media scene is vibrant, with numerous private newspapers and television stations and more than 50 radio stations. However, a survey conducted by La Nacion newspaper of 184 journalists and their perception of press freedom revealed significant constraints journalists feel they face in reporting freely. The survey indicated that 41 percent said they purposely left out information in reporting due to legal concerns and 79 percent said they felt pressure not to investigate certain issues. Libel, slander, and defamation are criminal rather than civil offenses, and people have a "right to reply" and sue media if they feel their reputation has been impugned by a matter of news. Two gunmen killed journalist Ivannia Mora Rodriguez in December 2003; allegations of the assassination centered on her former boss, the owner of the magazine Estrategia y Negocios. Her killing was the second press-related killing in two years and raised alarm among press freedom advocates. In a victory for press freedom, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that it would hear the case of journalist Mauricio Herrera Ulloa, who was convicted of criminal defamation in 1999; if his conviction is overturned, Costa Rica, as a member state of the Court, would be ordered to bring its criminal defamation laws closer in line with international standards.