In a significant ruling, Costa Rica’s Constitutional Chamber condemned the verbal attacks made by President Rodrigo Chaves against journalists. The Court deemed the derogatory remarks unjustified, emphasizing the potential harm they could cause to press freedom and democratic values.
The ruling issued by the Constitutional Chamber has sparked a sense of relief and vindication among journalists and media directors who have long advocated for press freedom. The Court’s decision sends a powerful message that public officials have a duty to safeguard democratic principles, including freedom of expression and the press.
The case was brought before the Court by journalist Jason Ureña, who bravely spoke out against the verbal attacks he endured during a press conference, alongside Minister of Health Joselyn Chacón. President Chaves had even gone so far as to label journalists from prominent news outlets as “political hit men,” creating a hostile climate for the press.
In its ruling, the Court acknowledged the importance of press conferences, particularly when they are broadcasted on national television. These platforms have played a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability in democratic states. However, the Court stressed that disrespectful and offensive language towards journalists constitutes a violation of freedom of the press.
The significance of this ruling extends beyond protecting individual journalists or media organizations. It reaffirms the importance of defending democratic values and institutional integrity. The President, ministers, and public officials bear the responsibility of upholding the democratic regime rather than engaging in derogatory labeling or creating a hostile environment for the press.
Yanancy Noguera, President of the Journalists Association, hailed the Court’s ruling as a defense of human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press. She emphasized that it reminds government officials of their duty to protect democratic principles and maintain a healthy coexistence with the media.
Jimena Soto, the director of Crhoy.com, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing that the Constitutional Chamber’s defense is not limited to specific individuals or media outlets but encompasses the fundamental democratic principles enshrined in Costa Rica’s Political Constitution.
While government representatives have yet to be officially notified of the ruling and comment on it, the Constitutional Chamber’s decision stands as a resolute defense of press freedom. It serves as a reminder to public officials that their words carry weight and that protecting democratic values and fostering a respectful relationship with the press are essential for a thriving democracy.
Source : Ticotimes