Digital journalism in Nicaragua under attack by the regime

Digital journalism in Nicaragua under attack by the regime

Published on 29 Jan 2024

Ortega-Murillo regime intimidates, persecutes and banishes communicators

Journalists and independent media have always been a problem for authoritarian regimes in the region. Nicaragua is no exception, and in this sense, the Ortega-Murillo regime has taken on the task of intimidating, persecuting and banishing communicators who seek to report on what is happening in the country, mainly those who do so from digital media.


The Observatory of Aggressions against Press Freedom of Journalists and Independent Communicators of Nicaragua (PCIN) identified in 2023 a total of 83 aggressions of different types, perpetrated mainly by agents of the Nicaraguan State.


The figures are alarming, for a country in which every day attacks against freedom of expression are denounced, as well as the constant violation of human rights.


Digital media, the first in the list of the regime


Of the 83 attacks on freedom of the press reported by PCIN, 79 were directly against journalists and 4 against media outlets. Of the total, 73% were against journalists linked to digital media.


This coincides with the increase of digital platforms following state repression by the Ortega-Murillo regime.


Nicaragua has been without print media since 2022, while since 2021, a total of 54 media outlets have been shut down and confiscated by the authorities.


Censorship in figures


The report of the Observatory of Aggressions against Press Freedom of Journalists and Independent Communicators of Nicaragua (PCIN) reveals that of the total number of aggressions, 77 occurred in the national territory, mainly in Managua (50) and the Autonomous Region of the South Caribbean Coast (RACCS) (11).


Of the total number of victims identified, 53 are men and 26 are women. The majority (46) are identified as journalists and media directors (12). The others are identified as: Media administrative/operational personnel, photographers, cameramen, reporters and analysts, journalistic content producers and editors.


The aggressions are mostly categorized as abusive use of State power, threats and intimidation. But it does not stop there, the aggressions extend to the families of the group of journalists directly attacked. Fifty of the 83 cases reported that their relatives had also been victims of aggressions.


State forces: the executioners in Nicaragua


The most dramatic types of aggressions experienced by journalists in Nicaragua are banishment, illegal annulment of nationality, confiscation of property, and forced exile. The PCIN report notes that at least 22 media professionals have suffered these as of February 2023.


The nature of the aggressors in Nicaragua is clear. Members of the National Police and the Judiciary are the main executioners in a clear policy of the Nicaraguan regime against critical thinking within the country.


“Such a situation configures the systematic use of the power of arms and laws to criminalize the exercise of informing audiences in an independent manner,” the report summarizes.


Nicaragua runs out of journalists


One of the serious results of these aggressions has been the exile of 44 people in 2023. But this has been happening for years, it is estimated that at least 218 journalists have been forced into exile since 2018. “There are departments of the country where there is no longer a single independent journalist left doing news,” they assure from PCIN.


According to a PCIN3 study, the population of journalists was just 117 at the beginning of this year. The number is now lower after the forced departure of dozens of additional journalists. This new group of forced migrants came from digital media (44), radio (9) and television channels (7).


The PCIN Observatory considers that the guild of journalists and communicators should emphasize the denunciation of cases of aggression. “Silence does not benefit the victims in a dictatorship”.


For more information on censorship and human rights violations against journalists you can follow us on social media as @ProBoxVE.

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