HAVANA TIMES – Nicaraguan Police, under the orders of commander Daniel Ortega, arrived Friday night at the 100% Noticias TV facilities in Managua, broke in, destroyed the equipment and kidnapped the directors Miguel Mora and Veronica Chávez, as well as the press chief, Lucia Pineda.
While Chavez was later released, Mora and Pineda remain incommunicado. Two security guards and a person close to the directors of the channel were also abducted.
The Police, who for weeks had maintained a constant harassment of the station and its reporters, occupied the newsrooms as they did a week before with the other leading independent news media Confidencial and Esta Semana.
The Ortega/Murillo government’s main web site, el19digital, did not report the latest media take over. Instead they ran a story on the latest daily speech by Murillo about the new “victories” of her regime.
“Today in Nicaragua we are living new times of justice and peace, times of meetings, times of dialogue from the family and the community, tiemos of work, of security, times to build victories, times of victories, these victories that illuminate the sun…”, said the VP and only government spokesperson.
The events happened around nine o’clock at night. “This is an emergency, they want to take our director prisoner,” said news chief Lucia Pineda minutes before the police stormed their building.
An image of the security camera shows how the police, hooded, are in the waiting room of Mora’s office.
Government closes down 100% Noticias
Minutes after the Sandinista police kidnapped the staff of the channel, the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Post (Telcor) issued a statement revoking authorization for the channel to transmit: “As of 9:00 p.m., 100% noticias is without authorization to transmit in the system represented by the legal entity Primicias S.A.”.
The detention of Miguel Mora and the closure of the channel come days after the Sandinista police, assaulted the facilities of Confidencial, This Week and Tonight of journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who was also attacked along with other journalists by a riot squad when he went to complain the following morning at the Plaza El Sol police headquarters.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) repudiated the kidnapping of our directors as well as our press chief and called on the regime to respect “pluralism and freedom of expression,” said a note from 100% Noticias online.
The special rapporteur for freedom of the press, Edison Lanza, also condemned the takeover and kidnappings, and reminded the Sandinista government that journalists have precautionary measures established by the IACHR.
“The Ortega regime installs terror and a communication blackout when it no longer has international supervision,” Lanza said. The government expelled the last international human rights organizations on Wednesday after outlawing the national organizations.
Paulo Abrao, executive secretary of the IACHR, joined the condemnation: We are seeing that “the serious authoritarian march against public freedoms in Nicaragua advances.”