The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) has urged Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves not to discredit the media, warning that some of the government’s recent actions amount to intimidation of the press.
The statement came after Chaves’ administration suspended the sanitary permit for Parque Viva, one of Central America’s biggest entertainment parks owned by Costa Rican newspaper La Nacion.
Founded in 1946, La Nacion is Costa Rica’s oldest newspaper. Many of its sister publications, such as El Financiero, are also widely read in the Spanish-speaking market.
President Chaves developed animosity against the publication after it repeatedly criticized him, citing the sexual harassment charges he faced when he was an executive at the World Bank.
According local media reports, Chaves vowed to punish La Nacion and Canal 7 during the campaign trail itself.
Two months after being inaugurated as President, Chaves questioned the way La Nacion raised funds in the bond market. Weeks later, his government suspended the sanitary permit for Parque Viva on the basis of an anonymous complaint.
“The administrative actions against one of the companies that give economic stability to the newspaper were taken two days after the President criticized the media,” noted Jorge Canahuati, President of IAPA.
In Central America, according to Canahuati, politicians often try to “discipline” media outlets by ordering tax audits or denying official advertising. But in Costa Rica, it is a different story.