In one of the darkest semesters for Nicaraguan journalism, more than 661 attacks against media and journalists were recorded - mostly committed by state institutions or officials - making the conditions for the practice of journalism more adverse and hostile each day.

Among these aggressions, 571 were attacks against media outlets, and 89 against individuals and a trade union.

Many attacks took place during the electoral process of November 7, 2021, highly criticized at national and international level, for being held without wide press coverage or independent electoral oversight and with a high rate of attacks on the press.

The attacks have caused journalists to self-censor and request protection of their identity.

In recent months at least 75 journalists and independent media owners have been forced into exile - six of them in February.

December 2021 was characterized by aggressions against the same victims, as well as the suspension of judicial proceedings against journalists and in the case of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation (FVBCH). The judicial authorities claimed it was due to excessive workload - considering this to be "force majeure."

This year began with strong self-censorship by journalists and more attacks than in previous months - while journalists removed their bylines from articles.

Between February and March, there were trials laden with arbitrariness in the Judicial Assistance Directorate (DAJ) - known as the new Chipote. These were closed-door trials with police as witnesses and accusations based on repressive laws passed in 2020.

On March 31, Juan Lorenzo Holmann - general manager of the newspaper La Prensa and regional vice-president for Nicaragua of the IAPA's Committee on Press Freedom and Information - was sentenced to nine years in prison - a conviction that, according to the analysis of criminal lawyers, was never proven during the trial. At the same time the court ordered to "keep under custody" the facilities of La Prensa - seized since August 13, 2021 - and set a heavy monetary fine. In addition, Holmann was banned from exercising his profession, trade or position for the same period and was fined "three times the value of the money, goods or assets" that he allegedly laundered.

The seizure of La Prensa's facilities includes four buildings containing the editorial, administration, sales, marketing and circulation offices, as well as the rotary press, modern commercial printing machinery and warehouses. This seizure has been denounced as a de facto confiscation - which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Journalists, media workers and members of the FVBCH were also charged and convicted.

Miguel Mora - director of 100 % Noticias - arrested for the second time, was tried on February 4 for the crime of "undermining national integrity" - and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Miguel Mendoza - a sports journalist - was tried on February 8 for the crime of "conspiracy to undermine national integrity" - and sentenced to nine years in prison.

Jaime Arellano - a political journalist - faced trial on February 24 for "conspiracy to undermine national integrity" and propagation of false news - as established in the Cybercrime Law. He was sentenced to 13 years for both crimes.

In the case of the FVBCH, its director, Cristiana Chamorro, was sentenced on March 11 to eight years - for the crimes of money laundering and misappropriation.

Her brother, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Barrios, was sentenced to nine years - for the crimes of unlawful misappropriation and withholding.

Walter Gómez and Marcos Fletes - manager and accountant, respectively, of the FVBCH - were sentenced to 13 years - for the crimes of ideological falsification, abusive management, misappropriation and money laundering. Pedro Vásquez - Cristiana Chamorro's driver - was sentenced to seven years - for allegedly cooperating in money laundering.

In this period, 10 opposition figures were tried and convicted for violating the cybercrime law and for "conspiracy to undermine the national integrity": Yoel Ibzán Sandino (11 years in prison), Donald Margarito Alvarenga (12), Douglas Alfredo Cerros Lanzas (12), Yasser Muhamar Vado (13), Alexis Peralta (11), María Oviedo (8), Jaime Arellano (13), Irving Larios (13), Eveling Pinto (13) and Harry Chávez (10).

At the time of preparing this report, the facilities of La Prensa remained seized by National Police patrols. The Nicaraguan flag that flies outside the main building is in tatters - a symbol that reflects the situation of journalism and of the country under the dictatorship.