REPORT No. 75/14 PETITION 1018-08 ADMISSIBILITY RONALD MOYA CHACÓN AND FREDDY PARRALES CHAVES COSTA RICA AUGUST 15, 2014 I. SUMMARY 1. On August 29, 2008, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter the “Commission,” the “Inter-American Commission” or the “IACHR”) received a petition filed by Pedro Nikken and Carlos Ayala Corao (hereinafter the “petitioners”) against the Republic of Costa Rica (hereinafter the “State” or “Costa Rica”). The petitioners alleged that the State is responsible for the violation of the right to freedom of thought and expression, enshrined in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter the “Convention” or the “American Convention”), in conjunction with Articles 1.1 and 2 thereof, to the detriment of journalists Ronald Moya Chacón and Freddy Parrales Chaves of the newspaper “La Nación” (hereinafter “alleged victims”). 2. The petitioners asserted that the alleged victims were found liable for having published information provided by the Ministry of Interior that, nevertheless, had been partially inaccurate. They state that according to the judgment against them, the fact that the information had been provided by a State agency did not excuse the journalists from having to confirm it with other agencies prior to its publication so as to ensure that the information was absolutely accurate before publishing it. In the opinion of the petitioners, this requirement would present a serious obstacle to the free dissemination of news in the public interest. In their opinion, this court decision requires an exorbitant degree of diligence, given that a journalist cannot be required to doubt the official information provided by the State itself, when he or she has even publicly identified the source. They alleged in their petition that what can be required at the time of imposing subsequent liability on journalists is for them to have acted in good faith and used a reasonable degree of diligence. 3. The State alleged that the right in question had not been violated. It stated that the journalists “failed to use the due diligence and reasonable effort expected of a person who is going to publish news in a national newspaper.” In its opinion, this led to an appropriate conviction, which “in no way constitutes prior censorship or creates a deterrent to the exercise of freedom of expression.” The State asked the Commission to find this petition inadmissible because the facts described do not amount to a violation of the human rights protected under the American Convention on Human Rights, and furthermore, because it fails to meet the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies. 4. In accordance with Articles 46 and 47 of the American Convention, as well as Articles 30 and 36 of the Rules of Procedure of the IACHR, and after examining the petition without prejudging the merits of the case, the Commission decided to declare the petition admissible with respect to the alleged violation of Articles 13, 8 and 25 of the American Convention, in conjunction with Article 1.1 thereof. The Commission also decided to notify the parties of this decision, publish it, and include it in its Annual Report to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States. II. PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION 5. The petition was submitted on August 29, 2008 and filed under number 1018-08. On April 29, 2013, the Commission forwarded the pertinent parts to the State, giving it two months to submit its response, in keeping with Article 30(3) of its Rules of Procedure. On June 26, 2013, the State requested a onemonth extension to submit its reply, which it finally sent on August 5, 2013. The State’s response was forwarded to the petitioner on September 26, 2013.