Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 6
Political Influences: 15
Economic Pressures: 11
Total Score: 32

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 68
Religious Groups: n/a
Ethnic Groups: Mestizo (69 percent), white (17 percent), black (9 percent), Indian (5 percent)
Capital: Managua

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. However, a new Journalist Guild Law raised concerns regarding freedom of the press. In November, the bitter presidential election pitted former President Daniel Ortega, the Marxist/Sandinista leader, against the conservative businessman Enrique Bolanos of the ruling Liberal Party. Bolanos won despite the heavily pro-Sandinista national radio system. Before leaving office, the Sandinistas had privatized the radios by turning them over to Sandinista loyalists. The newspapers, varied and partisan, reflect hardline and moderate Sandinista views as well as pro- and anti-government positions. News media covered a series of scandals and allegations of government corruption without restriction. Earlier in the year, outgoing President Arnoldo Aleman was accused of harassing a journalist of El Nuevo Diario, an opposition paper, and ordering government offices to cancel subscriptions to the paper.

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