IAPA voices condemnation of serious threats to press freedom and practice of journalism in Nicaragua

Journalistic work is obstructed daily and journalists are intimidated.

MIAMI, Florida (June 26, 2018)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the serious threats to press freedom and the practice of journalism occurring daily in Nicaragua as part of a deep political crisis and general violence that has caused several journalists to leave the Central American country.

Gustavo Mohme, IAPA President and editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, declared "Nicaragua is undergoing a climate of brutal governmental repression that has taken more than 220 lives, and the work of journalists in the streets is increasingly difficult. We strongly condemn the harassment, intimidation and attacks upon journalists and we demand that the Daniel Ortega government cease the repression."

During the last three months the newspaper La Prensa, 100% Noticias television channel and radio station Radio Corporación, based in Managua, complained of numerous attacks on their reporters and correspondents throughout the country.

On Sunday, June 24 Mynor García, correspondent of La Prensa in Jinotepe, to the west of the capital, Managua, was besieged in his home by supporters of President Ortega who threw stones and threatened him with machetes, until he was given protection by several neighbors.

On June 18 journalist Eduardo Montenegro, owner of a radio station and two television channels in Matagalpa, in northern Nicaragua, denounced to the IAPA at its headquarters in Miami. Montenegro said that the threats against him and members of his family intensified in May. "We received numerous calls in which they threatened to kill us and burn down the installations of the channel and radio station Notimat if we continued covering the protests," he said.

On June 19 armed groups attacked in Managua two teams of journalists as they we covering blockage of the road that leads to the town of Masaya.

According to the La Prensa newspaper the threats against and persecution of defenders of human rights and journalists have become a "witch hunt" on the part of the government. It reported that journalists Adelayda Sánchez of the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center (Cenidh), Gabriela Castro and Ileana Lacayo, abandoned their homes due to threats they had received.

In late April the Inter-American Human Rights Court issued precautionary protective measures for Migueleliuth Sandoval Cruz, the widow of journalist Ángel Gahona, murdered on April 21 in Bluefields on the Nicaraguan Atlantic coast.

Shortly after that murder American journalist Tim Rogers, of the U.S. online channel Fusión, announced his decision to leave Nicaragua amid threats from people close to the government who accused him of belonging to United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

"The Ortega regime has the obligation to ensure the physical integrity of the Nicaraguan journalists who daily are risking their lives and those of their families to comply with their duty to report. To those journalists goes our solidarity and unconditional support," declared the chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, editor of the Mexico City, Mexico, news portal La Silla Rota.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.