The rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Pedro Vaca Villarreal, denounced this Wednesday, July 13, a plan to “exterminate journalism as work in Nicaragua,” after an increase in persecution against journalists. independent journalists, recorded in recent weeks.
Vaca and the director of FUNDAMEDIOS, Dagmar Thiel, who have followed up on the human rights crisis in Nicaragua, lamented on the program Tonight the departure of another 15 journalists from the country —which occurred between last June and the first weeks of July—, who join the 120 reporters who were already reporting from abroad.
“The report of raids, persecutions, journalists in their family environments, of any life and relationship is constant. There are symptoms to believe that there is a plan to exterminate journalism, that it disappear as work in Nicaragua”Cow warned.
“Certainly it is a repressive escalation that must be added to the diagnoses of Nicaragua, but it must also be observed for what it implies for the future and the rights of citizens,” added the lawyer, referring to the recent harassment.
The official of the IACHR, attached to the Organization of American States (OAS), was referring in this way to the persecution unleashed by the Ortega-Murillo regime against the journalistic teams of the newspaper La Prensa, which covered last July 7 the expulsion of 18 missionaries of the order of Mother Teresa of Calcuttareceived by Costa Rica.
According to Thiel, like FUNDAMEDIOS, they are observing an upturn in aggression, marked by that episode that ended with the jailing of two newspaper hosts. This institution is a member of Voces del Sur, made up of 15 organizations that promote and defend freedom of expression in the region.
In June, precisely, Voces del Sur documented other harassment such as the closure of two media outlets, owned by the Catholic Church, and also incidents such as the prohibition of coverage by the Police on the ground and direct actions of intimidation against professionals in their houses.
Intimidation knocks on the doors of journalists’ homes
“We have several cases of journalists who have been intimidated; with sieges on their homes, persecution and calls, and this has led to an increase in the number of them in exile. During June it was reported that five journalists left the country, 12 more did so so far in July,” Thiel assured.
For Vaca, the international community should be alerted to this “police hunt”, which is more worrying in a nation where there are no institutional counterweights or brakes, added to the accumulated deterioration of serious violations of freedoms.
Both officials reminded journalists that they were detained during last year’s escalation of repression, when 60 people, including political, economic and social leaders to sow fear and allow Ortega to be re-elected without electoral competition.
Among them, Thiel mentioned the sports writer Miguel Mendoza, the journalist Miguel Mora, the directors of the Press, Cristiana and Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Barrios, the manager Juan Lorenzo Holmann.
“With this image (of political prisoners), the persecution and the possibility (of journalists) of being detained with spurious trials, anything can happen in Nicaragua. It is a brave job that journalists do in the country, ”said Thiel during his intervention.
Vaca insisted on demanding the release of prisoners of conscience, an international request that the regime has refused to support its thesis that it was the victim of an attempted coup and thus deny its participation in human rights violations. humans, reported since 2018.
According to the report by Voces del Sur, in the same June, there were 67 cases of violations of press freedom, 64 directed against the media and three against individuals. One of the cases mentioned was that of Trinchera de la Noticia, but they also cited the case of the Catholic television stations Tv Merced of the Diocese of Matagalpa, the Catholic channel San José de la de Estelí, which joined Channel 51 in a decision that it seeks to impose censorship and “violates freedom of religion,” added Dagmar Thiel, director of FUNDAMEDIOS.