“The Ortega Regime Hasn’t Defeated Journalism,” say editors

of important confiscated media outlets

Screenshot from Esta Semana

Nicaraguan journalists reinvent themselves from exile or underground but remain committed to prevent a news blackout in the country.

By Confidencial

HAVANA TIMES – Nicaraguan journalism has had to “reinvent itself from exile or underground,” due to the constant attacks by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo, but “we continue to do battle” and “we have the obligation” to prevent a news blackout in Nicaragua, warn editors of confiscated national media.

Fabián Medina, editor of La Prensa newspaper, said the resistance of independent journalism is “necessary” to avoid a dark cloak over the country and “we are fighting” through digital platforms. Despite the siege, criminalization, closure, and confiscation of media outlets, “the regime has not defeated journalism,” he emphasized.

“We are not doing the journalism that was being done before because circumstances have abruptly changed,” noted Medina. But “we are fighting.” “The information known in Nicaragua about what is going on, is being done through this journalism with this garb that it has been force to wear from exile or underground,” he continued.

This new way of doing journalism in resistance also implies the use of “many anonymous sources” and the media “is accepting responsibility for the credibility of what their sources are saying.” Due to the context of repression that prevails in Nicaragua, “we must take care of our sources and understand all their security measures,” the editor pointed out.

However, to guarantee the quality of information the independent media “is constantly reinventing itself, keeping contact with people in Nicaragua and being attentive to what is going on.” It is a different way of handling the news, “we can no longer be in situ, but through other eyes and through cross-checking to ensure the reliability of the information we convey,” stressed Medina.

On the other hand, the press chief of 100% Noticias, Lucía Pineda Ubau, noted that despite the existence of “fear” among the sources of information, mainly those related to state institutions, some of them seek ways to contact the independent media through third parties to convey “valuable information,” but which must be confirmed.

The impact on Nicaraguan society

The closing and confiscation of independent media outlets not only changes the way journalism is done in Nicaragua, but also the way audiences are informed. A situation that is having a negative impact on a part of society that is uninformed about what is happening in the country, said the editors during a panel on the program Esta Semana.

“In fact, they (the regime) did a news blackout,” warned Pineda. She recalled that, just in the month of August, the Ortega regime cancelled the broadcasting licenses of some twenty radio stations and local TV channels. Most of these media outlets broadcasted mainly religious content. However, “there is a commitment with people to search for information,” she added.

This situation” has affected us because not everyone has access to the internet,” there are also radio stations and national TV channels that changed their editorial line” and “practically do not address political issues.” All this affects citizens because they have no other information,” stressed Pineda.

Medina noted that “there is a kind of news blackout” in Nicaragua despite the fact that “there is a public that is aware of what is happening” in the country. “I have talked to many people, and I feel that there is a lot of misinformation and not because they are being informed through the official media, because that does not happen, what is happening is that people are no longer having access to information,” he mentioned.

Medina said the reason for this “news blackout” is that before the confiscations, information flowed through television and newspapers, but now the population has to search for information and “to find it requires a more committed reader, more in need of information.”

Confiscated buildings without a concrete use

Although on August 23rd the Ortega and Murillo regime set up in the building confiscated from La Prensa, the “José Coronel Urtecho” Cultural and Polytechnic Center, under the administration of the National Technological Institute (INATEC), the editors agreed that it remains to be seen if this center will actually become operational.

“The regime has the tendency to make very theatrical openings of institutions that they believe can justify the robbery that is being committed. So, they inaugurate a maternity home, a center to fight drug addiction. In the La Prensa building a cultural center… to mark territory, to say, we are in possession of this building, but there is nothing substantive. So far, we have not seen a function that determines the purpose of these properties,” said Medina.

Pineda recalled that in the building confiscated from 100% Noticias, the regime inaugurated a center to treat drug addiction to which “no one goes…it is not used at all.” “They are only there to say, we have control over this building.” However, she warned, “they do not control journalists.”

Read more from Nicaragua here on Havana Times



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