World Report - Nicaragua
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||July 2013|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Nicaragua, July 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b7aa9a91c.html [accessed 22 September 2014]|
The government's relations with much of the privately-owned press are fraught. Many media and journalists have been the victims of government hostility and harassment, resulting in self-censorship and undermining freedom of information.
All civil liberties, including freedom of information, have suffered setbacks since Daniel Ortega was elected president again in 2007 after 17 years in opposition, restoring the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) as ruling party.
Political polarization has fuelled tension between President Ortega and the privately-owned media, which he has tried to undermine while strengthening the state media. He has forbidden his ministers to make statements to opposition media and has deprived them of state advertising. The biggest victims have been small independent radio stations.
The many journalists who have been the targets of government hostility include Carlos Fernando Chamorro, a former Sandinista supporter turned critic who heads the Centre for Investigation and Communication (CINCO). He was the victim of a vicious smear campaign by Ortega associates during a witchhunt against privately-owned media in 2008 that included lawsuits, personal attacks and threats.
In 2011, the year that Ortega was reelected, El Nuevo Diario reporter Luis Galeano received death threats after reporting cases of alleged corruption, while Canal 15, a TV station critical of the government, suspended broadcasting after a series of threats and acts of sabotage that it blamed on FSLN members.
Many independent media censor themselves because of this climate of hostility to freedom of expression and pluralism. The docility of the TV stations is due in part to the General Telecommunications Law, which allows the government to exploit an opaque licensing system to influence the allocation and renewal of operating licenses.