Nicaraguan Radio Owner Demands Security for Journalists

He has returned from exile.

Anibal Toruno the owner of Radio Dario, in Leon, Nicaragua

The owner of Radio Dario affirms that there are no guarantees in place for the exiles who come back, but he feels that now is the time to return to Nicaragua.

By Ivette Munguia (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Anibal Toruno, the owner of Radio Dario, affirms that his exile will end the day that he can return to Leon, his hometown. A week ago, he reentered Nicaragua after nine months outside the country; however, the conditions that brought him to leave haven’t changed. He and the journalists from the radio station continue to be under constant siege, so that his home isn’t a safe place. Nonetheless, he’s determined to return, and once again take up the work of informing from the country’s western region.

In an interview on the internet news program Esta Noche, Toruno asserted that returning to Leon “implies the same risks” that he faced when he entered the country via the Managua airport. That decision involved “challenging the status quo and basically risking the possibility of jail, harassment, and provocation, as well as the topic of selective deaths that is still open there. Nicaragua is an unviable country, enmeshed in a huge crisis, and as such there are no guarantees of being able to exercise a free and independent journalism,” he highlighted.

According to Toruno, his greatest desire is “to return to my Radio Dario, embrace the young men and women who are still working at the station and who every day challenge the siege that unfortunately extends across the whole city.” The station was burned down in the early morning of April 20, 2018, by a group of fanatics from the Sandinista Front in the city of Leon. However, the journalists continued informing over digital platforms, and in July 2019, following the liberation of the political prisoners, the radio again began broadcasting over FM.

The owner of the station was concerned that his return to Leon would increase the hounding of those working for the station. “I hope that my return is calm and as secure as possible, and that it not serve as an excuse to further harass Radio Dario or my people, and to persecute the journalists or their family members,” he added.

Toruno also declared his admiration for the courage of the journalists who continue informing from Nicaragua. He urged the reporters that are currently in exile to return to the country soon, since he considers it a necessary step towards “rebuilding the communications web” of the nation.  “We need to once more take up the battle within Nicaragua, a battle for freedom of expression,” he underlined.

Anibal Toruno returned to Nicaragua on August 30, together with political commentator Jaime Arellano. His reentry, “maybe isn’t so safe, but it seems to me that it’s something that all us journalists have to do.”  Each person should “assume the risks implied in returning to Nicaragua”, because according to his criteria “the exercise of journalism in the country is going to be risky for years.”

 



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