Status: Free
Legal Environment: 4
Political Influences: 5
Economic Pressures: 5
Total Score: 14

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 77
Religious Groups: Roman Catholic (76.3 percent), Evangelical (13.7 percent), other (10 percent)
Ethnic Groups: White and mestizo (94 percent), black (3 percent), Indian (1 percent), other (2 percent)
Capital: San Jose

Costa Rica has highly diverse and independent media with a half dozen major, privately owned newspapers, several private television stations, and almost 100 privately run radio stations that present an array of opinions. Most significant in 2002 was the elimination of the country's "insult laws," which provided criminal penalties of up to three years in prison for insulting the honor of a public official. The move was highly welcomed; however, libel, slander, and defamation continue to be criminal offenses. In general, the media are free from political influence. There were no reports of harassment or intimidation, but the government remains under pressure to identify and punish those responsible for the 2001 murder of journalist Parmenio Medina. Private ownership of media outlets is somewhat concentrated.

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