The “Guillotine” Drops on Local Media in Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Journalist David Mendoza, owner of the local channel RB3, which has been operating for 18 years in the municipality of Río Blanco, in northern Nicaragua. Photo: Taken from social networks

The Ortega-Murillo regime closed between Monday and Tuesday, a feminist radio, ten Catholic radio stations and a private television channel

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – The regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo ordered off the air eleven radio stations, ten belonging to the Diocese of Matagalpa, the independent Radio Vos, and also shuttered the local TV channel RB3 “El Canal de la Zona Láctea”, whose programming was broadcast on subscription television.

The closure of the local media occurred between this Monday and Tuesday, and was carried out by the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications (Telcor), whose general director is Nahima Díaz Flores, daughter of the national police chief, Francisco Diaz, an in-law of Daniel Ortega.

Telcor alleged in a letter sent to the management of the company Cablevisión Rio Blanco on August 2, that the local channel RB 3, which was broadcast on channel 15 of the programming grid of that subscription television, “does not have authorization from this regulatory body to operate as a local content channel.”

“By virtue of the above, I request that, once this communication is received, said Channel (RB 3) be removed from the grid of channels authorized by Telcor for the company Cablevision,” signed the deputy director of Telcor, Celina Delgado.

Likewise, the company Cablevisión Rio Blanco “must submit an updated grid proposal in all its categories, specifically indicating the new channel that will be broadcast in the position occupied by channel 15, for the corresponding review and authorization of this regulatory entity,” added Delgado.

The local channel RB 3, operating for 18 years in the municipality of Río Blanco in northern Nicaragua, is owned by journalist David Mendoza, who, in tears, announced the closure of his media outlet after receiving the notification from Telcor.

“We are going to continue reporting through social networks,” said the journalist, who emotionally said goodbye to his audience and his sponsors.

From the Radio Vos program “Let’s break the silence”

Radio Vos, also from Matagalpa, reported that a delegation from Telcor appeared this Tuesday accompanied by the Police to carry out a review of the transmission equipment. They concluded that they do not comply with the Law of Telecommunications and Postal Services, which indicates that broadcasters may not suspend transmissions except in a fortuitous event and must inform the license holder of the causes.

“After the supervision, we were notified of the cancellation of our 101.7 FM modulated frequency transmission license,” they indicate in a statement on their social networks. The radio was born 18 years ago and defined itself as a “feminist station alongside the population…”.

Monsignor Alvarez questions Telcor’s argument

The Diocese of Matagalpa reported Monday afternoon that they had been notified of the closure of five of their radio stations, but by the end of the day there were ten radio stations closed, said Monsignor Rolando Alvarez, bishop of that diocese and administrator of the Diocese of Estelí. Telcor’s argument is that the stations did not have the operating permits or “the current enabling title.”

However, Monsignor Alvarez clarified that he himself had submitted all the required documentation since 2016, but “we never received answers as is the custom of the Government in many other cases,” he said on Monday afternoon in an annoyed tone.

“If the director of Telcor, Nahima Díaz Flores, wants to receive me, I will take her the receipt and signature of that same day from Telcor, all the documents that I presented to them. If they are right, I myself will say to the people that they are correct in closing our radio stations, but if they are wrong, I hope they have the courage to say that they were wrong or that they purposely want to close our media” said Alverez.

The closed stations are Radio Hermanos, Radio Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, Radio Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Radio Alliens, Radio Monte Carmelo, Radio San Jose, Radio Catolica de Sebaco, Radio Santa Lucía, Radio Esquipulas, and Radio Catolica de Waslala, administered by the Diocese of Matagalpa.

The latter reported through its social network account that Telcor ordered the immediate cessation of its operations, justifying that its signal was not registered, despite the fact that the station presented the proper documentation. “The order was unequivocal,” reads the statement published on August 2.

After the massive closure of the stations, the Police violently assaulted and entered the Jesús de la Divina Misericordia parish in Sebaco, to take away the equipment of Radio Catolica, one of the closed stations. This caused the discontent of the population that came to defend the priest Uriel Vallejos, but they were attacked by the regime’s police with tear gas.

The priest and six parishioners have still been under police siege for more than 24 hours in the parish house.

Radio Hermanos, another of the closed radio stations, operated for 29 years and was heard through 92.3 in Modulated Frequency and 690 in Modulated Amplitude (AM). It was founded by Cardinal Leopoldo Jose Brenes in 1993 and has been dedicated to the evangelizing mission, they indicated in a note published on their website.

Radio Hermanos, one of the ten closed stations, of the Diocese of Matagalpa. Photo: Radio Hermanos

The Nicaraguan authorities have also removed from programming three Catholic channels that were broadcast on subscription television in the last three months.

At the same time, they maintain a crusade against the independent media, they have imprisoned and sentenced journalists and have criminalized the profession, forcing dozens of reporters to flee the country for their safety, as recently happened with the entire newsroom of the newspaper La Prensa, whose facilities are taken over by the Police.

With information from EFE

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times

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