La Prensa Removes its Personnel from Nicaragua

due to the Ortega regime’s continuous persecution

La Prensa’s facilities have been occupied by the Police since August 13, 2021. Photo: CONFIDENCIAL

Journalists, editors, photographers and other workers have left the country in the last few weeks to protect their safety and freedom.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – On July 21, La Prensa of Nicaragua revealed, that “journalists, editors, photographers and other employees” have left the country in the last two weeks to “protect their safety and freedom” in the face of persecution and harassment by the Ortega/Murillo regime.

La Prensa explained that “although most of the people left clandestinely due to fear of being detained at the country’s borders, several had to flee without their passports or with expired documents, since for months the regime has refused to renew the travel documents of journalists from independent media.”

La Prensa has accused the dictatorship of unleashing an intense “hunt” and persecution of its personnel. On the night of July 6, two of the newspaper’s drivers were illegally detained, and later an Ortega judge ordered them to be imprisoned for up to 90 days, without knowing the charges against them. Both citizens are currently imprisoned in the cells of the infamous El Chipote jail where dozens of other political prisoners are being held under highly inhumane conditions.

La Prensa indicated that the persecution was directed at the team that covered the expulsion from Nicaragua of the 18 Missionaries of Charity, when they left for Costa Rica.

“These arrests were followed by raids on the homes of several journalists, photographers and other media personnel. This situation forced La Prensa to protect its staff and subsequently remove them from the country,” the publication said.

“Despite the fact that the staff are not in their homes, police and civilians continue to show up at their homes to harass their families,” the newspaper said.

Twice raided by police

The facilities of La Prensa have been occupied by the Police since August 13, 2021. The dictatorship has also attacked and illegally confiscated the facilities of CONFIDENCIAL, Esta Semana and the channel 100% Noticias.

A journalist from La Prensa, quoted in an Infobae article, reported on condition of anonymity that “my house was raided twice with a huge number of police. They seized all my work equipment. My physical integrity was already in danger, so I had to apply the protocol I had and look for safe houses, shelter, and then I had to leave the country.”

“I am persecuted because I am an independent journalist and work for a critical media outlet in Nicaragua. That makes the powers that be uncomfortable and makes you their enemy,” said the journalist.

In the last two weeks the organization Journalists and Independent Communicators of Nicaragua has registered the departure of 15 Nicaraguan journalists through blind spots on the border, although there could be “more cases”. These communicators join the more than 120 reporters who have gone into exile to flee harassment by the regime.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemnation

In a recent interview on the program Esta Noche, Pedro Vaca Villarreal, rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), denounced a plan to “exterminate journalism as a profession in Nicaragua,” after an increase in the persecution of independent journalists.

In a statement from the Inter American Press Association, its president Jorge Canahuati said that “we hold the regime responsible for what happens to every one of La Prensa’s employees, victims of abuse, intolerance and lack of respect for their fundamental rights.” 

“In the face of the new offensive against La Prensa, we reiterate our urgent call to restore freedoms in Nicaragua, where the regime acts with total arbitrariness without facing consequences for its repressive actions,” said Carlos Jornet, chairman of the Association’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.

Both Association officials have reiterated the call for the immediate release of journalists Miguel Mora, Miguel Mendoza and Jaime Arellano, as well as members of the board of directors of La Prensa, Cristiana Chamorro, Pedro Joaquín Chamorro and its general manager Juan Lorenzo Holmann Chamorro.

*With information from EFE

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