Nicaraguan Police Storm TV Station, Accuse Owners of ‘Instigating Hate’

Nicaragua police raid opposition paper, end rights groups' permits
AFP Inti Ocon

Authorities in Nicaragua stormed a television station and shut down its operations on Friday, accusing it of “instigating hatred and violence.”

Police raided the headquarters of 100% Noticias in the capital of Managua on Friday, where they arrested multiple people including the channel’s owner and director, Miguel Mora, and their news director Lucia Pineda.

Mora appeared in court on Saturday morning, where he was charged with “fostering and instigating hate and violence” in the socialist-ruled country, where widespread protests against Daniel Ortega’s regime have led to the death of 300 people and consequent crackdowns against all political dissidents.

“I demand his (physical) integrity and his release from custody because he’s innocent,” Mora’s wife Veronica Chavez, who is herself a journalist, told reporters after the incident.

“We are going to continue working because we are not committing any crimes,” she continued. “We are journalists and it’s our constitutional right, we are not criminals, we are not murderers, we are reporting what’s happening.”

As police raided the building, Lucia Pineda started a live Facebook broadcast where she described the situation as it happened.

“They (police) want to take 100% Noticias. There are riot police officers inside the station. They want to take our director Miguel Mora with them,” she explained. “We can hear them from the second floor; they want to get in. This is an emergency; they want to arrest our director for no reason.”

Network anchor Leticia Gaitán revealed that police had been tracking the station’s activity for weeks, setting up checkpoints feet away from the station in the weeks leading to the raid.

“We denounced the repression that the government exercised against the people,” Gaitán said. “It hurts them seeing that we are the voice of the people.”

The incident is the latest example of the political repression taking place across Nicaragua, as government forces seek to intimidate anti-socialist dissidents at everywhere from churches to private organizations.

In a statement, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Denis Moncada, said the organizations broke media protocol and created a platform of “false information to promote international sanctions against our country.” Last month, the U.S. imposed sanctions against leading regime figures, including the Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo.

Last week, police also raided the offices and attacked reporters from the opposition newspaper Confidencial, after journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro challenged them to take on his media outlet without a search warrant.

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