Costa Rica Government and Media Profile

Costa Rica Political Orientation

Costa Rica - Government and Media - Right-Center BiasCosta Rica Media and Government Country Profile


Government Type: Presidential Republic
Chief of State and Head of Government:
President Rodrigo Chaves
Political Party: Social Democratic Progress Party
Political Position: Center-Right

Press Freedom

MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 85.60 – Mostly Free
World Press Freedom Rank:
Costa Rica 23/180

Freedom House reports, “Freedom of the press is largely respected in Costa Rica. Defamation laws are on the books, but imprisonment was removed as a punishment for defamation in 2010.” 

Furthermore, Reporters without Borders ranked Costa Rica 5th out of 180 countries in its annual press freedom index. They praised Costa Rica’s free press by stating, “The Latin American country with the best record on respecting human rights and freedom of expression.” However, it says that media ownership is concentrated, limiting media pluralism.

Media Ownership and Government Analysis

In Costa Rica, most media outlets are privately owned, such as by Remigio Ángel González known as “el Fantasma” (the Ghost), who owns Albavisión. Albavisión operates 50 TV channels, 68 radio stations, and one newspaper, including Repretel Costa Rica (Channels 2,4, 6, and 11). Remigio Ángel González is being investigated in the United States for corruption. His wife, Alba Elvira Lorenzana Cardona, has an international arrest warrant by Interpol for money laundering. Another family-owned newspaper is La Nación. Grupo Nación owns La Nación and the Saguier family owns Grupo Nación. Among the newspapers owned by the group are Al Dia, El Financiero, and La Teja and magazines. Teletica Canal 7 is a private Costa Rican television channel owned and operated by Teletica’s founders, the Picado family.

Costa Rica’s public media is Sistema Nacional de Radio y Television S.A. (SINART) which operates Trece Costa Rica Televisión (Canal 13) and Radio Nacional. SINART is classified under an independent state-managed media model where “media outlets are majority-owned by the government, yet they are not reliant on state subsidies and enjoy editorial autonomy.”

In conclusion, corporate media dominate the print and broadcast media that powerful families own, limiting media pluralism. However, the government respects principles of transparency since Costa Rica has “an open government and open data policy.”

Country Rating Methodology

Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check

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