Costa Rican telephone, telegraph, and radio systems are owned and operated by both governmental and private firms. In 1998 there were over 584,000 main telephone lines available, but only 450,000 were in use. In 2000, there were 143,000 cellular phones in use. There were 50 AM and 43 FM radio stations in 1998. In 1997, there were six television stations in Costa Rica. In 2000 there were 816 radios and 231 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2001, there were 250,000 Internet subscribers served by about three service providers, only one of which was legal.
The major daily newspapers, all published in San José, (with 2002 circulations) include Diario Extra, also an independent morning paper (120,000); La Nación, an independent morning paper (107,000); La República, an independent morning journal (60,000); Al Dia, an independent morning paper; and La Prensa Libre, an independent evening paper (56,000). There are several periodicals and magazines available, the most popular of which is the general interest weekly Esta Semana, with a 1995 circulation of 27,000.
Freedom of speech and the press is guaranteed by the constitution and observed in practice. Print and electronic media are largely privately owned.