79th IAPA General Assembly, November 9 - 12, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico


The regime intensified its attacks on freedom of the press, expression, and religion. More than 200 journalists have gone into exile, and there is no longer any independent media due to the draconian Special Law on Cybercrimes. Citizens use social networks less and less to denounce cases of corruption, abuses of power, or aggressions for fear of reprisals—Independent journalists in the country report from underground.

During this period, there were 36 attacks against journalists, two banishments, and two attacks against the media. Twenty-nine journalists went into exile, and there are now 223 who have left the country since April 2018.

In the context of Holy Week, the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo banned processions. It arrested three journalists, intensified its attacks against the Catholic Church, and detained several priests. As with the 222 political prisoners exiled to the U.S. in February, the regime sent 12 priests to the Vatican and left Monsignor Rolando Alvarez in prison.

Independent journalism continues to report from exile but in precarious conditions. Many journalists abandoned the profession out of necessity or to avoid reprisals against their relatives in the country. There are four types of journalists in exile: those who fled in search of protection and are engaged in other economic activities; those who have found employment in media outlets in other countries; those who continue to practice and report on Nicaragua independently; and journalists and media outlets that do journalism from exile, such as La Prensa, among others.

Nicaraguan media in exile also have severe sustainability problems.

One of the strategies of the regime to silence the voices of journalists is to deny them re-entry to the country. It happened on July 24 with Marcos Medina, director of the digital media Fuentes Confiables, who was prevented by the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners (DGME) from re-entering the country. At the end of August, journalist Kimberly León, daughter of the late founder of Radio La Costeñísima, Sergio León Corea, was also denied re-entry.

The regime also often denies entry to family members of journalists who are already in exile, making them not only exiles but also de facto stateless persons.

Honduran journalist Kenya Volkanoe reported on her Facebook account that she was expelled from Nicaragua "for having defended Catholic priests."

On April 6, police in the city of Nandaime, south of Managua, arrested journalist Víctor Ticay, correspondent of Canal 10 and director of the website La Portada. In August, he was sentenced to eight years for spreading false news and conspiracy against national integrity.

In October, Catholic journalist Manuel Antonio Obando Cortedano reported from exile that two of his colleagues had been kidnapped.

La Prensa columnist Guillermo Miranda disappeared on October 19. He was released on October 26. For seven days, neither his family nor La Prensa could obtain information on his whereabouts or condition. Police questioned Miranda about his newspaper columns and past in the now-defunct Nicaraguan Resistance.

In August, the dictatorship inaugurated a Cultural Center in facilities stolen from La Prensa. The facilities include four buildings, a rotary press, a commercial printing press with machinery worth more than US$10 million, the newsroom, and the newspaper library, a heritage of 96 years of history. The dictatorship is offering or selling the machinery at prices below its value, and it was learned that companies in the region have shown interest in buying it, even though they know the government stole it.

The attacks against La Prensa and its personnel, with raids on family homes, have been going on for more than five years. It began with the customs embargo on printing supplies, the seizure of the facilities, the arrest of two members of its Board of Directors, the general manager, and two drivers, who were banished to the U.S. and stripped of their nationality and property, and erased from all public records.

No local or transnational private company dares to publish in the independent media, inside or outside the national territory, for fear of reprisals from the dictatorship.

The National Assembly, under the control of the Executive, dictated statutes that allow giving a veneer of legality to the repression, such as the Law for the Regulation of Foreign Agents, the Special Law on Cyber Crimes, the Law for the Defense of the Rights of the People to Independence, Sovereignty and Self-Determination for Peace, and a constitutional reform on the loss of nationality under the excuse of treason.

In August, the regime canceled the Society of Jesus and the Central American University (UCA) 's legal status renamed Casimiro Sotelo University. In addition to the classrooms and academic freedom at the UCA, the dictatorship also appropriated the José Coronel Urtecho Library, its newspaper library, and the Institute of History of Nicaragua and Central America. It also canceled the legal status of the Central American Institute of Business Administration (INCAE) and stole its facilities and assets.

Researcher Martha Patricia Molina, in her report "A persecuted church," denounced that, from April 2018 to August 2023, the regime intensified its attacks against the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Christian Church. To the latter, it closed 23 non-profit organizations, primarily temples.