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Costa Rican journalist avoids libel suit after retracting accusation against president's brother

A Costa Rican journalist avoided a libel lawsuit after retracting accusations she made against the brother of President Laura Chinchilla, Adrián Chinchilla, in an August 2012 article published in the newspaper La Nación.

Following the retraction, the court decided it was unnecessary to try journalist Vanessa Loaiza for libel since she withdrew her claim before the legal procedures against her could begin. As a result, the court granted her a stay in her favor.

Adrián Chinchilla and businessman Carlos Espinach sued the journalist for libel after she published an Aug. 15, 2012 article alleging that both men made decisions regarding the construction of Route 1856 along the country's northern border with Nicaragua, a much maligned public works project under investigation for irregularities, despite the fact that neither man was a public official. The reporter corrected her article two days after its publication.

Nevertheless, three judges ordered the journalist to pay her accusers' legal fees, according to Inside Costa Rica.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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