Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are two highly respected principles in Costa Rica – an exception in Latin America, a region plagued by corruption, insecurity and daily violence against the press.
The media landscape is diverse. There are various media outlets with full national coverage (Diario Extra, La Nación, Canal 42), as well as regional or local media of all kinds: commercial, state-run, cultural, religious, university-owned, etc. The country's journalists can exercise their profession with ease and have a solid legal framework for freedom of expression.
As a delegation of observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) indicated in the recent electoral process, Costa Rica "has a solid electoral system that inspires confidence in the different actors in the process". The distribution of power that prevails in the country is respected, and there is no dominant party, which preserves the dialogue between the different actors during legislative debates. The state does not usually interfere in the work of the press, although journalists sometimes encounter difficulties in accessing public information.
The Constitution of Costa Rica establishes that no one can be disturbed or persecuted for expressing their opinions, and that everyone can communicate and publish their thoughts without prior censorship. In addition, the country signed the American Convention on Human Rights, which, in article 13, establishes the right of everyone to freedom of thought and expression, and that the right of expression cannot be restricted by indirect means. There is no regulation against fake news, and, instead, the country has bet on education as a means to counter it.
Costa Rica has improved its economic activity after the shock brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The biggest source of revenue in the country is the export of precision and medical equipment, followed by the food industry, pharmaceutical companies, electrical and electronic manufacturing, metalworking and plastic production. Given the high fiscal deficit, the government cut spending in different areas including advertising, which affected various media outlets.
The population has a high degree of trust in the news media and social networks. Television is its main source of information, followed by conversations with family or friends, social networks, radio and newspapers. Journalists face no limitations from the government or the private sector. From time to time, when covering demonstrations, the press has been intimidated by the participants.
Today, in Costa Rica, journalists do not face harassment, threats or imprisonment from the government, and they are not monitored. Some politicians have criticized the press, although such cases are sporadic. The exercise of journalism is protected by the legal framework of the country, and the Constitutional Chamber has even established the protection of the confidentiality of sources and professional secrecy.