MIAMI, Florida (February 28, 2019)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today joined an international request for the immediate release of journalists Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, jailed in Nicaragua since December. It also called for guarantees for their physical safety.
Mora, director of 100% television channel, and Pineda, press chief of the same media outlet, were arrested on December 21 and on the orders of the official Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Mail (Telcor) the channel's signal was suspended and its installations seized.
IAPA President María Elvira Domínguez demanded "the journalist's immediate release from jail and guarantees for their physical safety and that of their family members."
Mora's and Pineda's families reported that the prison authorities denied the two medical attention. Mora began a hunger strike a week ago to complain about the abuses to which they had been subjected, including prevention of visits by his wife and mother.
Domínguez, editor of the Cali, Colombia, newspaper El País, stressed that "the only thing both journalists are guilty of is providing an independent source of news to the Nicaraguans in the face of a regime that tramples on freedom of expression and of the press."
Mora and Pineda, accused of "inciting hatred" and "proposition, provocation and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism," will go on trial on March 18.
Both journalists do not figure on the list of 100 political prisoners whose sentences were commuted from prison to service at home on their being reinitiated yesterday (February 27) the dialogue between representatives of the government and of civil society. It is estimated that some 660 political prisoners remain in jail.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, reiterated "the solidarity of the IAPA with the independent Nicaraguan press and the commitment to keep the matter on the international public agenda due to the grave situation of freedom of expression and of the press in the country."
In remarks y Mora at the IAPA General Assembly in October in Salta, Argentina, he said that to be a journalist in Nicaragua "is today a question of life or death." He added that "we are violated of all our human rights for expressing and for thinking differently they call us terrorists."
Mora received, in representation of his colleagues, the IAPA Press Freedom Grand Prize which the organization awarded to Nicaraguan journalists "for their courage and commitment."
Rock, editor of the Mexico City, Mexico, news portal La Silla Rota, announced that an IAPA delegation will be traveling on March 6-8 to Washington, DC, to meet with members of Congress, journalists and representatives of organizations in order also to call for Mora's and Pineda's release from prison.
In August last year an international IAPA and Reporters Without Borders mission visited the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, where it met with journalists, media directors and civil society representatives. The delegation concluded that "freedom of the press and of expression are in clear retreat in Nicaragua."
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.