Nicaragua: critical newspaper must stop print version | free press

Presidential elections are scheduled for early November in Nicaragua. The government of incumbent Daniel Ortega has been taking massive action against the opposition for months. Now it appears in a government-critical newspaper.

Managua (dpa) – The government-critical newspaper “La Prensa” in Nicaragua can no longer appear for the time being.

Because an urgently needed paper delivery is being held by customs, the publisher has indefinitely suspended the print version Friday. “You will not silence us,” executive secretary Juan Lorenzo Holmann told Confidencial radio station.

Founded in 1926, the newspaper will continue to provide information through its digital channels. The situation was due to a political decision by President Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian government, as was the case in 2018 and 2019, Holmann said.

Police also searched the publishing house on Friday and opened an investigation into allegations of fraud and money laundering. According to the newspaper, servers were also turned off during the raid and power and internet connections were cut. “The international community must strongly condemn this abuse of power by the dictatorship,” the regional head of human rights organization Human Rights Watch, José Miguel Vivanco, said on Twitter.

The Inter-American Press Association accused the government of taking a “hostile stance” towards the press and of deliberately blocking the release of paper deliveries. “This is a repeated practice of retaliation against the newspaper,” said a statement from the Miami-based association.

Presidential elections are scheduled for November 7 in Nicaragua. The former Sandinista revolutionary Ortega (75) has been aiming for his fourth term in a row since 2007. His government has taken massive crackdowns on the opposition in recent months, arresting more than 30 government critics, including seven candidates for president and one candidate for vice president.

Ortega had been in power after the revolution – first as a member of a junta, then as president – until he was voted out of office in 1990. In 2014, the ruling FSLN party passed a constitutional reform that removes the limits of the presidential term.

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