Miami (May 11, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the intensification of repression in Nicaragua, which has left detained three journalists since the beginning of April. The organization urged the international community to swiftly denounce the regime's persecution of freedom of expression and press freedom.
Hazel Zamora, news director and correspondent for Canal 10 in Bluefields, in the Caribbean region of the country, was arrested on May 5 while traveling on a bus with her minor children. Police also raided her home. The journalist had an arrest warrant issued on May 3 - World Press Freedom Day - for allegedly conspiring against the state and society and spreading false news, crimes considered "treason."
Zamora was placed on probation and must appear in court daily to sign in.
Michael Greenspon, IAPA president and Global Head of Licensing & Print Innovation for The New York Times, condemned the new onslaught of attacks on freedom of expression and press freedom, which, he said, "appear to be a purge to force critics of the regime out of the country and silence the opposition."
Zamora's case is in addition to that of William Aragón, former correspondent of La Prensa in the northern city of Estelí, arrested on May 3. He was placed under house arrest and must report daily to sign in at a court in Managua, despite living 148 kilometers from the capital. In addition, reporter Victor Tikay, arrested for filming a religious procession on Holy Thursday in the city of Nandaime, in the department of Granada, has remained in jail since April 6. Tikay is a correspondent for Canal 10 and director of the Facebook page La Portada.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, reiterated the organization's request to the international community to continue "denouncing the Ortega-Murillo persecution and acting swiftly against journalists and opposition leaders."
Last week's repression also included arrests of activists, peasants, and government opponents in several areas of the country.
In February, the regime expelled 222 political prisoners and stripped them of their nationality, as well as 94 other people, including ten journalists, who remained in the country. Since 2018, more than 185 communicators have been forced into exile, 21 between October 2022 and April, according to the report on Nicaragua presented at the last IAPA semi-annual meeting.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida.