Managua (AFP) – Members of Nicaragua’s press demanded Thursday that the government of President Daniel Ortega put an end to slander, aggression and death threats against journalists covering repression against protestors that have left over 200 dead in two months.
“We demand from the government of Daniel Ortego full respect for the right to freedom of thought and freedom of information,” journalist Leticia Gaitan told a press conference, speaking on behalf of the industry guild.
The statement also rejected “the regime’s plans to impose censorship” and “the campaign of slander and defamation against journalists.”
It was signed by reporters, photographers, columnists, bloggers, video journalists and media outlet owners. Among them were Carlos Fernando Chamorro, son of former president Violeta Barrios, and former presidential candidate and director of the opposition Radio Corporacion, Fabio Gadea.
The group accused the government of besieging the independent media — highlighting an attack against Canal 100% Noticias facilities, one of five channels temporarily censored when protests first began in April.
Meanwhile, other cases include that of two journalists who had to abandon their homes, with others attacked or their equipment destroyed by paramilitary groups.
One opposition radio chief, Anibal Toruno, “continues to receive death threats,” they said.
In April, journalist Angel Gahano was shot dead while filming looting in the Caribbean city of Bluefields.
Offices belonging to Nueva Radio Ya and Radio Nicaragua were also burned.
Other cases of violence include the targeting of 100% Noticias and Canal 12’s editorial teams by paramilitaries on June 19.
“This is without doubt the worst repression that Nicaragua has suffered in modern history,” said the journalists’ statement. “With Ortega, the country is viable neither economically or in the humanitarian sense.”
Independent media hope that international human rights delegations visiting the country will help eliminate the violence carried out by “the police and paramilitary groups.”