Puerto Rico

PUERTO RICO Journalism is practiced freely in Puerto Rico. The federal court of the San Juan District enjoined the Governor of Puerto Rico and officials of his administration from implementing an administrative order that would restrict free access by the press to public information. The federal court found that the administrative order, challenged legally by the newspaper El Nuevo Dia, infringed the rights of the people and the press to public information and the right to due process as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Puerto Rico's government appealed the San Juan court decision to the Federal Circuit Court of Boston, Massachusetts, which is expected to hear the appeal in February or March, 1992. Previously, Puerto Rico's Superior Court had issued a preliminary injunction voiding the Governor's administrative order. While the government has not limited press access to public information in recent months, neither has it withdrawn the administrative order, commonly known as the "muzzle law." Puerto Rico's courts are also hearing a claim entered by the San Juan Star for access to the record of travel expenses of Governor Rafael Hernandez C610n. So far, the governor has shown records of expense amounts and invoices, but has refused to disclose the purposes of the expenses and the names of persons who used public funds. The Star continues to insist in the courts that this information should be in the public domain because the expenses are paid from state funds.