The Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, a critic of President Daniel Ortega’s regime, reported that its staff, including journalists and photographers, left the country for fear of imprisonment so that they will operate from exile in digital form.
“The persecution that the government of Daniel Ortega has launched against the staff of the newspaper La Prensa this month (July) forced the newspaper’s staff to flee the country,” said on the front page of its digital edition, the only one they have kept active since August last year.
For the same reason, the oldest newspaper in the country -with 95 years of existence-, announced the reorganization of its editorial staff in exile, to protect its journalists from the police persecution they were experiencing.
Undoubtedly, this is an attack on the freedom of the press that prevails in Nicaragua. It seems that operating from abroad is the only way for professionals to continue practicing journalism and preserve freedom.
It should be noted that the persecution of the newspaper worsened on July 6, due to the coverage given to the expulsion of 18 missionaries of the Mother Teresa of Calcutta Order, a fact that would find justification in the drift that the Sandinista regime would have taken against the Church, considering it “oppositionist and coup-monger”.
These missionaries were expelled after the expulsion of 101 civil organizations, including the Association of the Missionaries of Charity of the Order of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, was announced last June 28. The nuns belonged to eight nationalities and left Nicaragua for Costa Rica.
The government tried to prohibit the dissemination of a news story of national resonance and international repercussion, imprisoning journalists to impose silence. Two journalists from La Prensa have been arrested, in addition to six other journalists and media executives who have been sentenced to jail in illegitimate trials. In addition, the homes of several journalists and photographers were raided by the police to arrest them.
As a result, dozens of journalists from La Prensa and other media outlets had to flee the country through blind spots, which meant that they will have to report from abroad, without access to public sources, affecting their professional work and the right of citizens to be truthfully informed.
Guatemala arrests El Periódico journalist
On Friday, July 29, Guatemalan authorities arrested José Rubén Zamora, president of El Periódico, a newspaper critical of the current administration of Alejandro Giammattei, which has uncovered several cases of corruption.
The Prosecutor’s Office accused him of money laundering, proposition, and conspiracy to launder money, blackmail, and influence peddling. However, the media, assure that these facts are due to the constant denunciations of corruption that they have published.
Furthermore, the Prosecutor’s Office behind the case is the same one that accused at least a dozen of prosecutors who were investigating several corruption cases of the current Government, and who are now detained or in exile.
Zamora was sent to a military prison and went on a hunger strike. He said he feared for his life because in all the country’s penitentiaries there are prisoners with whom his milieu has had conflicts.