The board of directors of the Costa Rican Journalists Association and Communication Professionals (Colper) expressed their “categorical opposition” to any bill that limits freedom of speech, including “Protection of honor in the face of abusive use of speech on social networks,” presented last week by National Restoration’s Jonathan Prendas.
The bill aims to amend articles 145, 146, 147, 148 and 152 of the Criminal Code, Law No. 4573 of May 4, 1970 and its reforms, increasing the penalties. In the case of offense or insults the penalty would go from 15 to 75 days of fine; in the case of defamation from 30 to 90 days of fine, and in the case of slander the penalty would go from 75 to 225 days of fine.
This type of project is another attempt at ‘gag rule’ whose objective is to limit the freedom of expression of citizens, journalists and the media, which mostly have social networks, instead of inciting the responsible use of that freedom, that like any principle of human right cannot become an instrument to violate the rights of others,”
said Allan Triguero Vega, president of the union.
According to the journalist, both the Political Constitution of Costa Rica and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, maintain that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and speech.
Weakening this right is not the right answer, on the contrary, legislators must understand that we live within a technological world that has transformed human relations through communication that further exposes people in public positions, and they are the ones who must learn to see criticism as opportunities, to be good listeners and, in any case, to resort to the avenues of law already defined in the Criminal Code if their dignity is being injured,”
argued Emma Lizano Tracy, vice-president of Colper.
Colper requested Prendas to withdraw this bill and urged him to establish good communication practices in social networks , which reduce the level of comments and criticism that could affect their integrity and honor.