Some answers to questions raised by A.M. Costa Rica readers

homeland. Well, we did not say so because we did not know that for a fact. The Spanish press said that because they relied on claims printed in some Colombian newspapers years ago. That is not good enough for us.

Frequently, too, a reader will email a link to an article in another publication and suggest that we reprint it. Although we appreciate the gesture, we do not have the legal right to reprint anything without permission. That distinction is lost on some Internet writers who basically steal material from online sources. We created Costa Rica Report to prepare legally acceptable brief paragraphs of Spanish language news stories and provide a link to the original site. La Nación hires reporters just like we do. The newspaper pays for their efforts. To steal the product of their labors and publish it elsewhere without permission is morally and legally lacking whether the result is in English or Spanish. And that is true even if the writer says where the information originated.

Publishing itself is fraught with perils. Most expats know how inconsistent the legal process is here. What they may not know is that defamation is a felony. At any moment, police may come to our office door to carry off editors and reporters to San Sebastián because some lawyer has filed an allegation of defamation. There doesn’t have to be a conviction, only success in convincing some judge that the alleged crime warrants pre-trial detention.

So if a news story stops in mid-sentence some day, readers will know why.

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