On the occasion of International Journalist’s Day, which is celebrated every September 8, the organization of Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua (PCIN) called on the Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) “to use all the tools at its disposal » to demand «in all possible ways that the government of Daniel Ortega respect those who make freedom of the press possible».
The brief addressed to the hemispheric organization was also signed by the Nicaraguan Never Again Human Rights Collective, Criminal Action (AP) and the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP).
The demand occurs in a context in which the Nicaraguan dictatorship has increased its siege, persecution and censorship of the Nicaraguan media and journalists.
“The OAS cannot tolerate denying the Nicaraguan nation the information to which it is entitled. The people have the right to be informed and the media and journalists remain willing to provide it, because it is our commitment to the development of the nation,” says the document dated Thursday, September 8.
The journalists expressed that «the martyrdom of that Czech journalist —Julius Fücik—» for which the International Day of the Journalist is commemorated «is reissued today in Nicaragua, where the government led by Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, has used all the means and institutions under its totalitarian rule to eradicate freedom of expression from the country.
With Ortega, freedom of expression has disappeared
PCIN recalled that since dictator Daniel Ortega returned to government in 2007, «From the national map of freedom of expression, 51 media outlets of all kinds and from the entire national geography have disappeared, and 16 informative spaces that were transmitted by mass media»
They denounced that only in August 2022, the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications (TELCOR), ordered without any administrative process or right of appeal, the closure of 23 Catholic Church media outlets, community radio stations and small television stations in the country. north of the country, the west, the southeast and in the autonomous regions of the Caribbean Coast.
They remarked that “Of that total, 12 outlets were eliminated in the department of Matagalpa”the department where the most siege and persecution was registered in the month of August.
“It has been a practice of the national state that after forcing the closure of media outlets, officials and police occupy the facilities and confiscate the transmission equipment. It is not known what destination these illegally seized equipment will have, “they pointed out.
More media outlets closed
On the other hand, the censorship and illegal takeover of Radio Vos in Matagalpa was denounced, then on September 6, government officials broke the locks on the radio station’s building and occupied it. “Before they had confiscated the facilities of the newspaper La Prensa (August 2022), Confidencial (December 2018 and May 2021) and 100% Noticias (December 2018)”, they listed.
They also detail that the “martyrdom” of independent journalism has also resulted in the forced displacement, currently in exile, of entire newsrooms: those of the newspaper La Prensa, Confidencial and 100% Noticias, in addition, that of at least 150 journalists.
They indicated that between the months of July and August of this 2022 alone, at least 25 journalists fled the country to avoid jail and be able to continue reporting, since men and women related to the country’s media have been arrested in 2021, « incommunicado and prosecuted, without the right to due process, and then sentenced to years in prison, fines and disqualification.”
«The behavior of the Nicaraguan regime contravenes the Political Constitution of the Republic (articles 30, 66, 67 and 68), and commitments signed by the state and by Daniel Ortega. In March 2019, his government promised before witnesses to ensure the implementation and protection of freedom of expression, and the guarantees included in the Political Constitution of Nicaragua. He has done the opposite », they denounced.
On the other hand, they recalled that before Daniel Ortega returned to the Presidency, he signed the Chapultepec Charter in 2001, where he promised to respect press freedom in the event of winning the elections, however “he and his government have not honored such signature.”
Despite the censorship and persecution to which the independent press in Nicaragua has been subjected, journalists continue to report inside and outside the country; and denouncing the violations of freedom of expression.
To date, Nicaraguan justice has kept journalists Miguel Mendoza and Miguel Mora behind bars for more than a year, as well as the manager of the newspaper La Prensa, Juan Lorenzo Holmann Chamorro. Instead of seeing signs of getting out of the crisis that Nicaragua is experiencing, the dictator Ortega continues with his hate speech against the independent press.