Freedom of Expression

UN and IACHR Experts on FoE condemns attacks, raids and censorship against journalists in Nicaragua.

Experts on freedom of expression of the UN and the Inter-American System condemn attacks and threats against journalists and the media in Nicaragua


December 14, 2018


WASHINGTON D.C. - Experts on freedom of expression from the UN and the Inter-American System condemns the repeated attacks, raids and forms of censorship against journalists and independent media in Nicaragua, and urgently call on the State to guarantee the work of journalists and stop any kind of harassment, persecution and pressure against the press.


According to the information provided by the media, journalists and activists in Nicaragua, the State has launched various measures and repressive actions to harass independent journalists reporting on the repression against demonstrators, students and human rights defenders since April 18, and on the current political crisis in the country.


"The situation of freedom of expression in Nicaragua is grim, due to the aggressions, censorship and police and parapolice forces persecution against the press," said Edison Lanza and David Kaye.


During the protests the journalist, Ángel Gahona was killed while covering a demonstration in Bluefield. Since then, dozens of journalists had been subjected to physical attacks, death threats, arbitrary arrests, surveillance by state security forces and parapolice forces, as well as the confiscation, theft or destruction of their journalism equipment.


"It’s serious the situation faced daily by journalists and media executives such as La Prensa, Confidencial, 100% Noticias, Radio Darío, Radio Mi Voz, Canal 12 and the journalistic team of Canal 10 of Nicaragua, victims of constant harassment and threats," explained Lanza. In fact, yesterday, Thursday the 13th, the offices of the digital media and the television programme "Esta Semana" and "Esta Noche" were violently raided by the police; The director of the media, Carlos Chamorro, reported that they confiscated their work equipment, digital archives and documentation.


On the other hand, at least 6 television media were censored during the first days of the protests, and more recently the government tried to restrict or silence the channel 100% Noticias and control the agenda of the program Acción 10 of Canal 10. "The use of administrative faculties or indirect means by the State to try to censor or restrict the reach of the media is unacceptable and contravenes international standards of freedom of expression," warned Kaye.


The experts also expressed their alarm "in the face of the speech that seeks to link those whom the Government perceives as opponents, including some journalists, with acts of incitement to violence or terrorism."                                                                                                                                                 


The expertsMr. David Kaye, as UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

Mr. Edison Lanza is the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression was created by the IACHR to encourage the defence of the right to freedom of thought and expression in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role this right plays in consolidating and developing the democratic system.