The 2021 “Freedom of the Press” report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) places Nicaragua in 160th place out of 180 countries in the world where journalists live in a “very serious situation” due to “rhetoric against the media and a generalization of stigmatizing speeches by the political class.
In Nicaragua, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo maintains a policy of secrecy and concealment of information from the independent media.
Through the Communication and Citizenship Council, the dictatorship maintains control of the official discourse and it is Murillo herself who announces all the projects and advances, leaving all the ministers and directors of the State institutions merely decorative.
“Increasingly visible and virulent, these public attacks weaken the profession and encourage abusive judicial proceedings, smear campaigns and intimidation – especially against women – and online harassment against critical journalists,” the report details.
The RSF document reflects the worsening of the press freedom situation in Nicaragua in the last three years. In 2020 it ranked 117th, in 2021 it dropped to 121st position and in 2022 it ranks 160th, 39 places less than the previous year.
«Nicaragua is the protagonist of the biggest disaster and enters the red zone of the Classification. The parody of elections organized in November 2021, which led Daniel Ortega to his fourth consecutive term as president, has been followed by a fierce persecution against critical voices, “says the report.
“The last bastions of the independent press are under siege and the vast majority of independent journalists, threatened by abusive legal actions, have had to flee the country,” he adds.
Nicaragua “is not safe” for the independent press
The chapter dedicated to Nicaragua explains that in the Central American country “it is not safe to practice independent journalism.” It also states that communication professionals who remain in the country work “very discreetly and do not even sign their articles to avoid reprisals.”
«Working with a video or photographic camera on public roads endangers the person who uses it and it is usually confiscated. There are practically no reports on the street anymore », he says.
The annual report on press freedom evaluates the practice of journalism in 180 countries. An exam in which Brazil ranks 110th out of 180, in El Salvador (112), Venezuela (159) and Cuba (173). “Mexico remains the deadliest country in the world for the press, ranking 127th out of 180 in the general list, but 179th in the security indicator,” he argued.
No independent media
RSF states that in Nicaragua, “there are practically no independent media outlets,” and they attribute this phenomenon to the “new and intense wave of repression that Daniel Ortega’s regime launched against opposition politicians, civil organizations, and independent media, in May 2021».
He adds that “the only media that continue to report on government abuses are the digital ones, whose journalists are mostly in exile. The few that continue to operate in Nicaragua, such as Radio Corporación or the Acción 10 newscast, avoid criticizing the regime for fear of reprisals».
The document also indicates that during the year 2022, the regime’s Police raided and occupied the facilities of the newspaper La Prensa, the wave of arrests and the accusations against journalists who were accused of treason against the country and money laundering. “Already in 2018, the media Confidencial and 100% Noticias had been confiscated by the government,” he recalls.