Resistance online: Nicaraguan civil society against Ortega’s “Peace Law”

Resistance online: Nicaraguan civil society against Ortega’s “Peace Law”

Published on 28 Apr 2024

The answer for 2018 is a "Peace Law".

In the midst of the Ortega-Murillo government’s enactment of the controversial “Peace Law,” Nicaraguan civil society has emerged as a driving force on social media, actively challenging the official narrative and defending the memory of the April 2018 protests.

 

The Nicaraguan Assembly decreed through a new Law, April as the “month of Peace”; this because it is a month where dissidence has found a place to commemorate what happened in 2018 and protest in the midst of censorship and repression, through social media platforms.

What does the law say?

According to what was approved by the Nicaraguan National Assembly (made up of approximately 90% of pro-government deputies), the law aims to “deepen the values linked to peace and family unity throughout the country”.

This is a new legal tool that is aligned with the speeches of Rosario Murillo in the official state media, in which she announces actions to be carried out during the month, in addition to lashing out against religious leaders who do not support them. This law promotes the narrative of forgetting the massacre of almost 350 Nicaraguans and the repressive actions that have persisted these six years.

Commemoration and protest come together online

 

Despite the regime’s efforts to impose its own version of events, civil society has used digital platforms to commemorate the 2018 protests and keep the memory of the fallen alive.

 

Through hashtags such as #AbrilNoSeOlvida and #SOSNicaragua, they have expressed their rejection of the “Peace Law” and their determination to continue fighting for justice and democracy.

 

From ProBox, the conversation on social media around the commemoration of the protests of April 18, 2018 was analyzed.

Through the search for keywords such as #SOSNicaragua, abril no se olvida, #abrilnoseolvida, asesinados protesta nicaragua, estallido social nicaragua and protestas 18 abril 2018, it was possible to study the conversation of civil society around the topic.

During the period from March 18 to April 21, 1,189 mentions were recorded around the words used, with a peak on April 19 with 143. Most of this conversation took place on Facebook with 77.29% of the mentions recorded, followed by Instagram with 20.86% and TikTok with 1.85%.

Top words in this included #AprilVive #SOSNicaragua (135 mentions), political prisoners (61 mentions), protests April (59 mentions), #AprilNoSeOlvida (59 mentions) and #Nicaragua #AprilVive (56 mentions).

Among the main accounts that made the most mentions were identified on Facebook, the Nicaraguan University Alliance, which topped the list with 307 mentions and 17,752,582 impressions.

The regime also wants to impose “peace” on social networks

On the other hand, the officialist conversation was researched using keywords such as: law April peace month, April peace month Nicaragua, peace month Nicaragua, Nicaragua peace culture, peace month Daniel Ortega, Daniel Ortega peace culture, #UnidosEnVictorias April peace and #NicaraguaTriunfa.

There were 1,075 mentions during the same period, with a peak on April 18 with 173 mentions, this day being more significant as it is the anniversary of the beginning of the protests.

Most of the pro-government conversation was concentrated on Facebook, with 66.33%, followed by X with 31.63%.

Key words highlighted in this conversation included Rosario Murillo (87 mentions), #4519LaPatriaLaRevolución (82 mentions) and Daniel Ortega (69 mentions). The account with the most mentions was in one of the main digital propaganda media of the regime since 2008 called El 19 Digital en X with 25 mentions and generated 2,713,225 impressions.

El 19 Digital is a virtual media outlet in Nicaragua that has stood out for disseminating the official narrative of the regime and promoting its policies and achievements. The name of this media outlet refers to the date of the Sandinista Revolution on July 19, 1979, when the dictatorship of the Somoza family was overthrown. El 19 Digital has been criticized for its bias in favor of the government and its role in official propaganda.

New tools against censorship: in TikTok, civil society is taking the lead

In the social network TikTok, ProBox was able to identify 22 videos related to both speeches. However, despite the fact that the regime did not go unnoticed on social networks, civil society emerged as the driving force behind the citizen narrative, expressing its discontent towards the regime and evoking the 2018 protests strongly.

The 17 videos of civil society accumulated more than 197,465 reproductions, loaded with denunciation, commemoration of the 2018 protests and satire, thus reflecting the authentic and critical voice of the citizenry, granting undeniable relevance to their participation in this media space.

 

The presence of the Nicaraguan people on social media has proven to be a beacon of resistance to the government’s attempts to divert attention from existing problems. Instead of succumbing to the official narrative, digital platforms have been used as a space for truth and a call for justice.

 

The resistance on social media by Nicaraguan civil society represents a powerful reminder of the importance of freedom of expression and the struggle for justice in a context of increasing authoritarianism. Their voice continues to be a vital force in the quest for a more just and democratic Nicaragua. Her perseverance and creativity on social media demonstrate that, even in the face of repression, hope and resistance persist, fueling the flame of freedom.

 

For more information on socio-political manipulation online you can follow us on social media as @ProBoxVe

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