San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Press Freedom Day Commemorates La Penca

In one of his last acts as president, Oscar Arias established May 30 as National Journalists’ Day through an executive decree.

The day corresponds with the anniversary of La Penca, the name of the jungle encampment where three journalists died and at least a dozen others were seriously injured when a bomb went off at a press conference on the Nicaraguan border in 1984.

Tico Times reporter Linda Frazier, wife of AP correspondent Joe Frazier and mother of a 10-year-old son, bled to death before reaching a hospital in Ciudad Quesada. The bombing resulted in multimillion-dollar lawsuits, lingering controversy and stacks of publications and books.

“The first thing one wonders is why we had to wait 26 years to declare this day,” said two-time president Oscar Arias. He said the intent of the annual event is to commemorate all those persecuted, attacked and killed in connection with their work as journalists and to remember those affected by the La Penca bombing.

Government officials, members of the press, and survivors of the bombing attended the decree signing.

–Chrissie Long

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