Press: Strong Message to Censors

An international court rules against the licensing of reporters

The decision came quietly, but the reverberations are now sounding around the world. On Nov. 14, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, an autonomous judicial arm of the 32-member Organization of American States, ruled 7 to 0 that a law requiring the licensing of journa lists violated the right to free expression. Stephen Schmidt, an American reporter, had been found guilty in 1983 of practicing journalism in Costa Rica without a required license and had received a three-month suspended sentence from that nation's Supreme Court. In its landmark ruling, the human rights court, which sits in San Jose, Costa Rica, held...

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