Nicaragua independent press under siege

  1. Critical NGOs offices raided by police
  2. Government axed them "for being part of a rightwing US-backed conspiracy"

Nicaraguan police beat at least seven journalists with batons, including one of the country’s best-known editors, in an escalating crackdown on independent media Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 in the aftermath of protests against President Daniel Ortega.

Previously police had occupied the offices of prominent editor Carlos Fernando Chamorro, publisher of Confidencial, a combative newsletter and website.

Chamorro said officers stormed the publication’s headquarters in the capital Managua late on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, seizing laptops and computers, and had returned at about 10.30 pm the next day to occupy the premises.

“They have taken our newsroom … They are physically closing down our offices by taking them militarily.”

UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet demanded that Ortega stop the persecution of “human rights defenders, civil society organizations, journalists and media critical of his government.”

“Likewise,” the former Chile president added in a statement, “I urge authorities to respect and guarantee the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Nicaraguans.”

After the raid, the country’s state-run propaganda outlet El 19 made no mention of it in their homepage, but did find space for five photographs of Ortega as well as a 3,400-word essay by his Vice President and wife Rosario Murillo.

“Nicaragua flourishes in love, work, security and peace,” she wrote.

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