Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO In Puerto Rico, j ournalism is practiced freely. Governor Dr. Pedro Roselló signed the Declaration of Chapultepec September 19 and expressed his agreement with the spirit and letter of the Declaration, which coincides with the tradition of respect for press freedom that has prevailed in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider a motion presented by the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero, challenging a ruling by the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico which, in a libel suit, recognized the right of relatives to become co-complainants, even when they are not mentioned in the statements, and to seek redress for moral or emotional damages. The libel suit that sparked the incident has not yet been heard in the Superior Court. This is seen as setting a dangerous precedent that could affect libel insurance and spawn frivolous suits, resulting in legal costs for the media. The magazine Editor & Publisher editorialized recently on the implications of the decision and another publication, News Media & Law, also reported on the decision. Three new suits involving co-complainants alleging personal damage have been filed in recent months, based on the Puerto Rico Supreme Court ruling. The Federal Communications Commission ordered the closing of a radio station that operated in the western region of Puerto Rico, characterizing it as clandestine, with unauthorized broadcasts to Cuba.