Nicaraguan journalism commemorated March 1 the National Journalist Day in the midst of television censorship and more than two thousand attacks against press freedom by the administration of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, since the beginning of civil protests in April of 2018.
Since, the government has tried by all means to “crush the independent press” with various attacks such as the murder of journalist Ángel Gahona, the burning of Radio Darío, the customs blockade of print supplies of La Prensa, the de facto confiscation of 100% Noticias and imprisonment of its news directors, and imposing television censorship, denounced Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of Esta Semana and Confidential.
In an interview on the Onda Local radio program, Chamorro said that “a political decision of the dictatorship that seeks to maintain censorship against Confidencial and 100% Noticias” persists, because the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) has an unsolved year appeals filed after the embargo and confiscation of both media.
The customs blockade of newsprint and supplies forced the self-imposed closure of El Nuevo Diario newspaper last September.
“What has happened here is a force action by the State that has imposed, by de facto means, television censorship, which affects its journalists, but above all citizens because they are taking away the opportunity to inform themselves”, Chamorro added.
Although the government lifted on February 5 the customs blockade of more than 500 days against La Prensa, the only remaining print media in the country, Chamorro insisted that there is no real change in the situation of Nicaraguan journalism because the attacks persist.
“There is no sign of restitution of the freedom of the press, except for the recovery of those spaces that we are doing every day by not accepting censorship or self-censorship and continuing to do journalism,” said Chamorro.
For its part, the Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua Organization (PCIN) has demanded that the criminalization of the profession be stopped, after several journalists were threatened and beaten by the police during the activities on February 25, when the National Coalition was officially presented, and demonstrations were planned in Managua.
“We demand the end of institutional repression that criminalizes the work of women and men of the press in Nicaragua, and denies citizens the right to access true information as is established by the Nicaraguan Constitution… We demand the State to immediately cease the theft of journalistic equipment and all aggression,” said PCIN in a statement read by the journalist, Julio Lopez, of Onda Local.
PCIN explained that they keep a record of the aggressions against Nicaraguan journalists and are studying each case to eventually file a criminal accusation against the police and paramilitaries identified by their victims