Proposed law generates groundswell

Back when most newspapers were printed on paper, the warning was never to get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel.

Today the Solís administration is reeling from an electronic thrashing administered by the radio and television stations.

La Nación was the first to report that a proposed radio and television law contained wording and penalties that would have made Joe Stalin blush. Basically, the text would have allowed the government to assess thousands of dollars in fines and even close stations for comments officials did not like.

The text is similar to laws in the more authoritarian Latin countries.

Predictably, the roof fell in.

Casa Presidencial quickly issued a release defending freedom of the press and characterizing the proposed law as merely a draft.

The Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones, where the repressive proposal was created, quickly followed suit.

Still lawmakers weighed in with criticism of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration.

Major television networks devoted long segments critical of the proposal with selected guest commentators, including some who defended the president who had disavowed the text.

Still unknown is exactly who wrote the document.

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