In a 6-1 vote, the nation’s Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court this week affirmed the right of journalists to protect their sources and notes.
“The court ruled that freedom of information has two conditions: a fundamental right and an institutional guarantee to create a free public opinion and promote democratic pluralism,” states the ruling.
The ruling formalized a historic policy of respecting journalists’ rights to protect their sources but it also left judges some wiggle room.
The daily La Nación reported that judges can order journalists to turn over documents in “exceptional cases.”What makes a case exceptional was not defined.
According to La Nación, the ruling was the result of a suit brought by ex-President Miguel Angel Rodríguez to try to force the paper to provide documents they used to publish a 2004 exposé on his alleged involvement in a Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE)-Alcatel kickback scandal.