Ortega’s scorched earth campaign against local and independent media has found a new victim. This time, it was independent TV channel NGTV3, which was transmitted locally in the department of Nueva Guinea in southeastern Nicaragua.
The station’s owner, journalist Galo Jose Suarez Jaime, used his social media accounts to announce the channel’s forced closure by order of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (Telcor). “I couldn’t say goodbye to you on the television screens, because when they told me, the channel was already off the air,” Suarez declared.
“On Friday, August 5, around ten in the morning, I was visited by the manager of Nueva Guinea Tele-cable Company, who informed me verbally that the company had received a memorandum from Telcor, ordering them to remove Channel 3 from their cable network,” the journalist stated.
“I’ve decided to make this situation public, since I requested that they let me know of this disposition through a written document, something they’ve confirmed to me they’re not going to do,” Suarez commented.
This small media outlet was the second local TV channel the regime has closed down in the last week. On August 2, local channel RB3, “the Dairy Zone Channel”, from the dairy farming town of Rio Blanco, was taken off the air. The channel’s programming had been available by subscription in the Matagalpa department.
During the first six days of August, the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo used Telcor to close eleven local radio stations, ten of them serving the Matagalpa dioceses. The bishop and head of the diocese, Rolando Jose Alvarez, is currently being held hostage in his own Curia, also located in the city of Matagalpa. Along with the Catholic stations, the regime shuttered the independent Radio Vos, which centered on women’s and feminist programming.
Over the past three months, the Nicaraguan authorities have also closed three other Catholic television stations which broadcast by subscription.
International condemnation, and the determination to continue digitally
The European Union and other international organizations condemned the closure of the Catholic radio stations and other community-based media outlets in Nicaragua. Among those issuing statements are the Inter-American Press Society (SIP), the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR), and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.
SIP stated that the closure of the local media forms “part of a campaign that plans to eliminate all vestiges of an independent press.”
Nueva Guinea journalist Galo Suarez, however, wasn’t giving up. He’s already informed the public that he’ll continue broadcasting via digital media: “we’re going to continue on our digital platform, sharing with you those news items of social interest.”
“I want to thank all the population of Nueva Guinea, all the groups, all the individual and legal entities, all our announcers, all our sponsors, for having allowed us to accompany them for exactly 12 years,” the journalist stated.