Nicaraguan journalists are increasingly opting to remain silent about assaults on press freedom to avoid being victims of attacks by police or Sandinista sympathizers, warned the regional network Voces del Sur in a report released on Thursday.
“Voces del Sur regrets that censorship and the silence of the victims in the face of aggressions against freedom of the press continues to win the battle,” said the regional network in a report sent to the press.
It maintained that “increasingly there are more victims who prefer to remain silent about their complaints to prevent an increase of aggressions from Sandinista fanatics, state workers and police forces.”
Voces del Sur clarified that in no way is it blaming the “victims for the silence. We are aware of the danger. However, we should leave in writing what is happening for history, because the numerical reduction of cases observed does not mean that the aggressions have diminished, but that the victims have stopped denouncing.”
That network documented a total of nine violations of press freedom in October in Nicaragua (seven against journalists and two against media outlets).
One journalist had her rights violated in three opportunities in October, and this is the third consecutive month in which she has been the victim of verbal aggressions by a Sandinista militant, according to the report.
Voces del Sur, created in 2017, is a regional network of Latin American civil society organizations that work in coordination to promote and defend freedom of the press and expression, access to information and the safety and protection of journalists.
Journalists continue to go into exile
Meanwhile, last month “at least four journalists were forced to go into exile,” and in one of the cases the journalist traveled to Costa Rica to visit his family and when he was trying to return was notified that he did not have authorization to enter the country, he said.
At least 160 journalists and media workers in Nicaragua have gone into exile for security reasons, since April 2018, when demonstrations against the government presided by Daniel Ortega broke out, according to last month’s report.
Voces del Sur also regretted that the government maintained “the policy of lack of access to public information” before and during the municipal voting process held last Sunday.
It also expressed concern about the use of the Special Law on Cybercrimes “as an instrument to accuse dissident citizens,” and mentioned the case of 13 opponents who were charged with the alleged crimes of conspiracy to undermine national integrity and spreading fake news.
Nicaragua experiences a political and social crisis since April 2018, which has been exacerbated after the controversial general elections of November 7, 2021, in which Ortega was reelected for a fifth term, the fourth consecutive and second for his wife, Rosario Murillo, as Vice President, with his main contenders in prison.
In this current stage of government, Ortega has closed at least 54 media outlets, including 23 in August, most of them owned by the Catholic Church, as well as 15 news spaces, and has confiscated several media outlets, including La Prensa, the oldest and most influential newspaper in the country.
This article was originally published in Spanish in Confidencial and translated by Havana Times