Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April 2014, 13:11 GMT

World Report - Costa Rica

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date March 2010
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Costa Rica, March 2010, available at: [accessed 19 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
  • Area: 51,100 sq km
  • Population: 4,200,000
  • Language: Spanish
  • Head of State: Laura Chinchilla, since May 2010

The country is very proud of its reputation as having the best human rights and freedom of expression in Latin America. Its relevant laws need amending but progress is being made.

Costa Rica is a beacon of human rights amid the lawlessness often found in Central America. President Oscar Arias (2006-2010) sponsored peace agreements to end civil wars in the region during his first term (1986-1990) and the continent's highest jurisdiction, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, is based in San José, the capital.

The government has moved towards decriminalising media offences. After a debate about updating the press and freedom of expression law, the supreme court on 11 February 2010 struck down the controversial article 7 of the 1902 press law which allowed journalists, editors and media owners to be jailed for up to 120 days for defamation and "insults."

On 18 December 2009, a court freed Luis Jiménez Robleto, of the daily Diario Extra, who was facing a 50-day sentence on these grounds.

Updated : March 2010

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