NICARAGUA The media law that controlled the exercise of free expression under the previous Sandinista government was derogated a few months before President Violeta Chamorro took office. The Chamorro government has not re-enacted such a law. In July, President Chamorro was confronted with an anti-government general strike organized by Sandinista unions, in which the Sandinista media called openly for rebellion. But she kept her promise not to curtail press freedom. The daily La Prensa, although generally supportive of the government, maintains an independent line and criticizes the government when appropriate. The Sanclinista newspapers Barricada and El Nuevo Diario, however, daily attack the government - and are completely free to do so, Chamorro says. The attacks are basically against the government's economic recovery plan. In keeping its promise to maintain and guarantee press freedom, the Chamorro government has let six Sandinista radio stations continue using heated language against the government. The president and her cabinet assert that it is better to be slandered, taunted and even threatened with death than to suppress or restrict press freedom. In the state television, the news and current affairs programs sponsored by the Sanclinistas outnumber government programs two to one. The government has only one news service, in which Sandinista opinion is also included. For the first time in Nicaraguan history, independent news programs critical of the government have been permitted. Also unprecedented has been the granting of licenses to individuals to open new television channels. The radio stations La Primerisima and Radio Corporadon were destroyed by unidentified attackers. The government called the incident an attack on freedom of the press and pledged to investigate it to identify and punish those responsible. The Sandinista media claimed recently that the Chamorro government was proposing to enact restrictions on free expression of public opinion on the radio. In the first six months of the new Nicaraguan government, two new weeklies appeared, some 15 new radio newscasts went on the air and political party publications shut down by the previous regime started publishing again. All of them oppose the government. Even the state-owned radio, Radio Nicaragua, has its own editorial space in which government journalists criticize government policies.