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SPJ condemns Nicaraguan government raid of Confidencial, detention of journalist
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, email@example.com
Zoë Berg, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists condemns the recent raid by Nicaraguan government forces against the independent news site Confidencial and the detention of camera operator Leonel Gutiérrez.
“This unexplained, unacceptable treatment of Confidencial is an attack on a free and independent media in Nicaragua and beyond,” said SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall. “SPJ stands with journalists across the Americas and around the world because an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
This is the latest example of Daniel Ortega and his government mistreating the media since he returned to power in 2006. Among the actions taken has been the monopolization of the import of paper and ink by the state, which it then denies to news outlets that criticize the government.
This most recent incident is reminiscent of raids that took place in 2018 and forced the owner of Confidencial, Carlos Chamorro, to flee to Costa Rica in fear of his life. Chamorro returned to Nicaragua in 2019 but his news site continues to be targeted by the Ortega government and its supporters.
Nicaragua is ranked “not free” by the independent, respected human rights organization Freedom House. Reporters Without Borders ranks the country 121 out of 180 countries in a ranking of press freedom.
The move against Confidencial is being seen by opponents of the Ortega government as an effort to silence opposition to the government in the runup to the November elections.
SPJ calls on the Nicaraguan government to end its persecution of independent media in Nicaragua and calls on the global community to provide what support it can to Confidencial and other independent outlets in Nicaragua.
SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.