The Open Society Justice Initiative in conjunction with the Soros Foundation granted $28,000 to help push legislative reform for freedom of the press in Costa Rica, according to the country’s Press and Freedom of Expression Institute (IPLEX).
Press freedom activists have lobbied for years to change the existing press law, which includes prison terms for journalists convicted of libel.
The proposed Freedom of the Press and Expression Law has been sidelined in the Legislative Assembly, which is focusing on bills to implement the free-trade agreement with the United States.
Additional donations from the International Programme for the Development of Communication through UNESCO of $23,000 will go toward a diagnosis of the problems with freedom of expression that affect journalists and local media in the rural areas of Costa Rica, the training of rural and regional media and the creation of a basic manual on freedom of expression for Costa Rican journalists.
Other projects IPLEX is working on include research in Latin America on “subtle censorship,” the indirect pressure on media and journalists.
The initiative is in coordination with the Association for Civil Rights in Argentina and will be conducted in Costa Rica, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Peru and Uruguay.