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Nicaraguan journalists defy censorship, but 34% have also left the job, says PCIN

The organization of Independent Journalists and Communications of Nicaragua (PCIN) estimates that 34% of Nicaraguan colleagues have stopped practicing the profession and others have opted not to address political issues, as part of their protective measures in the face of constant attacks by the regime of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo.

Nicaraguan journalism is “in crisis, but still in existence”, emphasizes Martha Irene Sanchez, of PCIN’s executive committee. While it is true that “a good number of journalists in exile continue to fight censorship and do so by reporting on what continues to happen in Nicaragua”. We also “observe that some colleagues have self-censored”, she emphasized. 

Since Ortega returned to the presidency in January 2007, his regime has declared “war” against the independent press, and a total of 57 media outlets have been closed.

PCIN presented the results of a study on media mapping on March 1, carried out with the purpose of knowing the conditions in which Nicaraguan journalists exercise their work and for which they interviewed a sample of 116 communicators. “We found that 34% of the journalists we consulted have stopped working,” said Sánchez.

This figure “is quite shocking to us because a single journalist who stops working is a hard blow to freedom of the press and freedom of expression”, she continued.

Among the journalists who have stopped working, there are those who are unemployed, and others who work in academic jobs that are not related to journalism or provide business communication services.   

There are also journalists who “have chosen not to address issues that displease the regime, (mainly) political issues or those related to the human rights crisis that the country is going through”, explained Sanchez. “We know that these are valid actions, but we are alarmed,” she commented.

21 journalists declared “stateless”

The PCIN is managing information so that the 21 journalists stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality – for denouncing the serious human rights violations being committed in Nicaragua from exile – can decide whether to adopt one of the nationalities offered by the governments of Spain, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, and Mexico.

The stripping of nationality “has had an emotional impact on the people affected, especially because most of them are in exile, some already had refuge in Costa Rica and others are in the process” and there is still “no clear position” of the Costa Rican Government, commented Sanchez. 

The journalists or media workers stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality are:

  1. Miguel Mendoza, sportswriter, and blogger
  2. Miguel Mora, co-founder and director of 100% Noticias
  3. Cristiana Chamorro, of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation and La Prensa
  4. Juan Lorenzo Holamann, of La Prensa
  5. Camilo de Castro Belli, journalist, and filmmaker
  6. Carlos Fernando Chamorro, director of CONFIDENCIAL and Esta Semana
  7. Sofía Montenegro, journalist and sociologist
  8. Patricia Orozco, former director of Onda Local and director of Agenda Propia
  9. Álvaro Navaro, director of Artículo 66
  10. Wilfredo Miranda, journalist, and founder of Divergentes
  11. Anibal Toruño, marketer by profession and director of Radio Darío
  12. Silvia Nadine Gutiérrez, journalist and activist
  13. Wilberto Artola, journalist of the Diocese of Matagalpa
  14. Manuel Antonio Obando, journalist of the Diocese of Matagalpa
  15. Sergio Cárdenas, cameraman of the Diocese of Matagalpa
  16. Jennifer Ortiz, director of Nicaragua Investiga
  17. Lucía Pineda, co-founder and director of 100% Noticias
  18. David Quintana, journalist of Boletín Ecológico
  19. Santiago Aburto, political commentator 
  20. Luis Galeano, director of Café con Voz
  21. Manuel Díaz, director of Bancanalnica

Added to them, are employees of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation:

  1. Walter Gómez
  2. Marcos Fletes
  3. Pedro Vázquez

And the drivers of La Prensa:

  1. Carlos Lam
  2. Mario Sánchez