CPJ, international journalists express deep concern over deteriorating press freedom climate in Nicaragua, call for release of detained reporters

Daniel Ortega Saavedra, Presidente de la República de Nicaragua
Rosario Murillo Zambrana, Vicepresidenta de la República de Nicaragua
Presidencia de la República
Frente a Palacio Nacional
4 Calle Noroeste
Managua, Nicaragua 11001

January 7, 2019

Sent via email: [email protected]

To President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo:

We are journalists and press freedom advocates from Latin America and around the world who view recent developments in your country with deep concern. We write to express alarm over the recent escalation of aggression against media outlets and journalists covering civil unrest and documenting human rights abuses by police and paramilitary groups.

We strongly condemn the December raids on the offices of two major independent news outlets, and the detention of Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau, journalists from independent cable and digital channel 100% Noticias, on multiple anti-state charges. These latest anti-press actions occurred shortly before the Christmas holiday, when many in the international community might typically be distracted; however, they did not go unnoticed.

Mora and Pineda, arrested during a December 21 police raid on the 100% Noticias offices in Managua and rushed through court appearances with no access to legal representation, stand accused of crimes including “inciting violence and hate” and “promoting terrorism.” The government has not presented any evidence to date to support the charges against these journalists, who took a lead role in their channel’s critical reporting over the last eight months. More than two weeks after their arrest, both journalists remain in pre-trial detention, and their channel is still banned from broadcasting.

Just a week before the raid on 100% Noticias, riot police ransacked the Managua offices of independent news website Confidencial and two affiliated television programs, all led by renowned journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, and confiscated equipment and documents.

These are just the latest hostile acts capping off a year that saw dozens of attacks on the media, including the April 20 arson attack on Radio Darío in León and the April 21 death of reporter Ángel Eduardo Gahona, who was shot and killed on camera while reporting on protests in Bluefields.

The recent expulsion of two independent monitoring bodies set up by the Organization of American States (OAS) the day before one group was set to release a report on human rights violations during protests last spring is another disturbing example of your government’s disregard for transparency and international human rights norms.

We call for the immediate release of Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda Ubau, and an end to actions designed to intimidate and shut down independent media. The office of the president, which exerts control over almost all aspects of government, must order police to stop raiding newsrooms, return all seized equipment and documents, and allow news outlets to work without fear of violent reprisal, interference, or arrest.

We call on you to respect international guarantees for freedom of expression and to cease harassing the independent press. A free and independent media is vital to the functioning of a healthy democratic society, in Nicaragua and throughout the Americas.


Abbas Milani — Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University, USA
Adela Navarro Bello — Editorial Director, ZETA Magazine, Mexico
Adriana Carrera — Editor and founder / Editora y fundadora, La Familia de Broward, USA
Adriana García — Projects director, Spaceship Media, USA
Alan Riding — Former New York Times correspondent for Mexico and Central America, Paris, France
Alan Rusbridger — Journalist and author, Former editor-in-chief of the Guardian, UK
Alberto Salcedo Ramos — Journalist and author, Bogotá, Colombia
Alejandra Conti — Journalist, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Alejandro Meléndez — Journalist, Mexico
Alex Grijelmo — Author, Director of UAM-EL PAÍS School of Journalism, Madrid, Spain
Alícia Ortega-Hasbun– Investigative reporter, Vice President of Grupo SIN/ El Informe, Dominican Republic
Alma Guillermoprieto — Journalist and author, Mexico/USA
András Kepes — Author, Professor of Media at Budapest Metropolitan University, Hungary
Ann Grimes — John S. Knight Journalism Fellow alum, Stanford University, USA
Anuška Delić — Investigative journalist, Oštro/OCCRP, Slovenia
Barbara E. Allen — Journalist, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Barbara Maseda — Proyecto Inventario, Cuba
Bastian Obermayer — Head of Investigations, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
Benjamin Petit — Co-founder, Dysturb, France
Beth Daley — Journalist, Boston, USA
Beth Duff-Brown — John S. Knight Journalism Fellow alum, Stanford University, USA
Dr. Bill Birnbauer — Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University, USA
Bill Gentile — Journalist in Residence, American University, USA
Blaž Zgaga — Freelance journalist, Slovenia
Bob Drogin — Los Angeles Times, USA
Bobby Block — Watchdog Editor, Florida Today, USA
Borja Echevarría — Managing editor, El País, Madrid, Spain
Brenda Payton — Newspaper columnist (retired), USA
Bruce Brown — Executive Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), USA
Carlos Dada — Director, El Faro, El Salvador
Carlos Eduardo Huertas — Director, CONNECTAS
Carmen Aristegui — Journalist, Mexico
César Ricaurte — Director, Fundamedios, Ecuador
Chanda Chisala — President, Zambia Online, Zambia
Charles Lewis — Executive Editor, Investigative Reporting Workshop, American University, Washington, D.C., USA
Cheryl Devall — Independent wordslinger, storyteller and editor, USA
Chloe Veltman — Reporter, KQED, San Francisco, USA
Chris Vail — Photographer, USA
Christian Zurita Ron — Editor, Mil Hojas, Ecuador
Christy George — Independent public radio editor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Colleen Barry — Milan correspondent, Associated Press (AP), Italy
Cristian Alarcón — Journalist and author, Revista Anfibia, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cristóbal Peñafiel Vaca — Journalist, El Universo, Ecuador
Daniel Coronell — President, News, Univision, Miami, USA
Daniel Santoro — Investigative journalist and courts editor/Periodista de investigación y editor del equipo de judiciales, Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina
David Dow — CBS News correspondent (retired), CBS News, USA
David Sarno — CEO, Lighthaus Inc., San Francisco, USA
David Schrieberg — CEO and co-founder, VitalBriefing, Luxembourg
Dawn E. Garcia — Director, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, Stanford University, USA
Dean Starkman — Senior Editor, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Hungary
Doug Stone — Communications consultant, Program Director of the World Press Institute , USA
Drew Sullivan — Editor, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Sarajevo/Bucharest/Tbilisi/Washington
Edouard Perrin — Investigative reporter, Premières Lignes Télévision, France
Emilia Delfino — Deputy editor at Diario Perfil/Subeditora Diario Perfil, Argentina
Emilia Díaz-Struck — Research Editor and Latin American Coordinator, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Venezuela
Emilio Palacio — Journalist, Ecuador
Ergun Babahan — Editor and columnist, Turkey
Eric V Tait, Jr. — Co-Host/Producer, Media Watch, former 20/20 Producer (ABC Network TV News), USA
Dr. Erich Vogt — University of Toronto, Canada
Erick Muñiz — Journalist, La Jornada/AFP/ABC Noticias, Monterrey, Mexico
Ernesto Aroche — Journalist, Lado B, Puebla, Mexico
Ernesto Cortés Fierro — General editor, El Tiempo, Bogotá, Colombia
Ernesto Tenembaum — Journalist, Radio con Vos, Infobae, El País, Argentina
Fabián Werner — Director, Sudestada, Uruguay
Felyx Márquez — Journalist, Mexico
Fernando Rodrigues — Publisher, Poder360, Brazil
Florencia Coelho — Lawyer, New Media Research and Training Manager, La Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Francisco Goldman — Journalist and author, USA
Frederik Obermaier — Investigative reporter, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
Fredrik Laurin — Investigative Editor, SVT, Swedish Public Television, Sweden
Gábor Szabó — Journalist, Budapest, Hungary
George Kennedy — Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri School of Journalism, USA
Germán Rey — Researcher and professor, Fundación Gabriel García Márquez para el Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Bogotá, Colombia
Gilberto Lastra — Journalist, Mexico
Glenn Frankel — Independent Author, former Washington Post journalist, 1989 Pulitzer Prize winner, USA
Go Kawasaki — Independent journalist, Japan
Gordon Earle — Associate Dean, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, USA
Guilherme Amado — Vice-president, Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) Brazil
Guillermo Culell — Grupo Clarín, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Gumersindo Lafuente — Deputy director, eldiario.es, Madrid, Spain
Gustavo Gorriti — Director, IDL-Reporteros, Peru
Harriet A. Washington — Author, independent lecturer, Columbia University, USA
Harry Karanikas — Investigative reporter, Protagon.gr, Greece
Héctor Feliciano — Journalist and author, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Henrietta Grant-Peterkin — former Knight Fellow, Stanford University, Scotland
Hernando Álvarez — Global Content Hub Editor, BBC, London
Hisham Allam — Investigative Reporter, Egypt
Hugo Alconada Mon — Journalist, Argentina
Ignacio Escolar — Director, eldiario.es, Madrid, Spain
Inday Espina-Varona — Journalist, Former chair of National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Philippines
Iqbal Athas — Political Editor, The Sunday Times, Sri Lanka
Dr. Istvan Wisinger — Communications professor, former President of the Association of Hungarian Journalists, Hungary
Ixchel Cisneros Soltero — Journalist, Mexico
Jacobo García — Journalist, El País, Mexico
Jaime Abello Banfi — Director, Fundación Gabriel García Márquez para el Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Cartagena, Colombia
James F. Savage — Investigations editor (retired), Miami Herald, Ft. Lauderdale, USA
James R. Bettinger — Director Emeritus, John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships, Stanford University, USA
James Risser — Director Emeritus, John S. Knight Professional Journalism Fellowships, Stanford University, USA
Janet Rae-Dupree — Freelance innovation journalist, Unboxed Media, USA
Javier Darío Restrepo — Journalist, FNPI Ethics Program director, Fundación Gabriel García Márquez para el Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI), Bogotá, Colombia
Jean Cano — Journalist, Ecuador
Jefferson Morgan — Journalist (retired), The Tribune and the Guardian, USA
Jennifer Donovan — John S. Knight Fellow, Stanford University, USA
Jeremy Hay — Independent journalist, USA
Jerry Bier — Retired reporter, Fresno Bee, California, USA
Jerry Jay Carroll — Author, journalist (formerly San Francisco Chronicle), USA
Joan Úbeda — Producer, Mediapro, Barcelona, Spain
Joanna Kiernan — Artist in Time Pictures, Los Angeles, USA
João Pina — Freelance photographer, Lisbon, Portugal
Johannes Kr. Kristjansson — Editor, Reykjavik Media, Iceland
John Carlin — Journalist and author
John Hansen — President of the Danish Federation for Investigative Journalists (FUJ), Senior investigative reporter, Politiken, Denmark
Jon Lee Anderson — Staff writer, The New Yorker, USA
Jonathan Kamman — National reporter (retired), The Arizona Republic, Phoenix, USA
Joseph Neff — Investigative reporter, The Marshall Project, USA
Joseph Poliszuk — Editor-in-chief and co-founder, Armando.info, Venezuela
Juan Carlos Calderón Vivanco — Director, Plan V, Ecuador
Juan Pablo Meneses — Journalist, Director, Escuela de Periodismo Portátil, Chile
Judyth Hill — President PEN San Miguel Allende, Mexico
Julia Preston — Contributing writer, The Marshall Project, USA
Julia Stein — Vorsitzende/ Chairwoman, Netzwerk Recherche e.V., Germany
Julie M. McCarthy — Southeast Asia Correspondent, Manila Bureau, National Public Radio (NPR), USA
Juliette Garside — Investigations correspondent, The Guardian, UK
June Carolyn Erlick — Editor-in-Chief, ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, USA
Jyri Hänninen — Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), Finland
Karelia Vázquez Torres — Managing editor, Fashion & Arts Magazine, Spain/Cuba
Karlijn Kuijpers — Investigative journalist, Platform Investico, The Netherlands
Katherine Ellison — Independent journalist and author, USA
Kathy Kiely — Lee Hills Chair in Free Press Studies, University of Missouri School of Journalism, USA
Katie Palmer — John S. Knight Fellow, Stanford University, USA
Keli Dailey — Adjunct, Saint Mary’s College of California, Creator News Hangover, San Francisco, CA USA
Laura Weffer — Editorial Director, Efecto Cocuyo, Caracas/USA
Leo Sisti — Investigative Reporter, L’Espresso, Italy
Lou Dematteis — Former Reuters Photo Bureau Chief in Nicaragua
Louis Freedberg — Executive Director, EdSource, Oakland, USA
Luciana Villas-Boas — Journalist and literary agent, Brazil
Lucina Kathmann — Honorary vice-president PEN San Miguel Allende, Mexico
Lyas Hallas — Freelance journalist, Algeria
Lynette Clemetson — Director, Knight-Wallace Fellowships for Journalists and the Livingston Awards, University of Michigan, USA
Magali Tercero — President, PEN Mexico, Mexico
Dr. Marcel Metze — Editor-in-chief, The Investigative Desk, The Netherlands
Marcelo Soares — Founder, Lagom Data, Brazil
Marcos García Rey — Investigative reporter, El Confidencial, Spain
Margarita Martínez Escallon — Journalist and documentary filmmaker, Colombia
Margot Williams — Journalist, Washington DC, USA
María de la Paz Vela — Economics editor/Editora Macroeconómica, Gestión, Ecuador
María Emilia Martin — Director, Centro GraciasVida Para los Medios de Comunicación, Antigua, Guatemala
María Jimena Duzán — Journalist, Semana, Bogotá, Colombia
Mariana Santos — Executive Director, Chicas Poderosas, Portugal
Mariel Fitz Patrick — Investigative journalist, Infobae, Argentina
Marina Walker Guevara — Deputy Director, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
Marion Arathoon — Independent content consultant, India
Martha Roldós Bucaram — Executive Director/Directora Ejecutiva, Fundación Mil Hojas, Ecuador
Martín Caparros — Journalist and author, Madrid, Spain
Mary Aviles — Journalist, USA
Matilde Suescun — Journalist, USA/Colombia
Merval Pereira — Columnist, O Globo, Brazil
Mely Arellano — Journalist, Lado B, Puebla, Mexico
Michael Bilton — Investigative journalist, UK
Michael Montgomery — Senior Reporter-Producer, Reveal, USA
Michael Nikbakhsh — Investigative journalist, Profil Magazine, Vienna, Austria
Michael Rezendes — Investigative journalist, USA
Mike Keefe — Editorial cartoonist, The Colorado Independent, formerly The Denver Post, Mexico
Milagros Salazar Herrera — Investigative journalist and director of Convoca, Peru
Milorad Ivanovic — Editor, BIRN Srbija, Serbia
Minna Knus-Galán — Investigative journalist, Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle), Finland
Mohammed Komani — Data Editor, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ), Yemen
Mónica Almeida — Investigations editor/Jefe de Investigación, El Universo, Ecuador
Mónica González — Director, Centro de Investigación e Información Periodística (CIPER), Santiago de Chile, Chile
Natalie Southwick — Central and South America Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York, USA
Nathalie Alvaray — Local Digital News Manager, Univision, Venezuela/USA
Natka Buturovic — Journalist, Bosnia
Nelfi Fernández Reyes — Journalist, El Deber, Bolivia
Norma Trujillo Báez — Journalist, Mexico
Ola Westerberg — Reporter, TT News Agency, Sweden
Orville Schell — Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations, Asia Society, USA
Pamela Yates — Skylight Pictures, USA
Paúl Mena Mena — Investigative journalist, El Universo, Ecuador
Paul Radu — Director, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Romania
Paulina Ríos — Journalist, Mexico
Paulynn Paredes Sicam — Member, Women Writers in Media Now (WOMEN), Philippines
Pedro Matías — Journalist, Mexico
Pedro Zamora Briseño — Reporter, Proceso Magazine, Mexico
Pelin Unker — Freelance journalist, Turkey
Pete Carey — Journalist (retired), San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto, USA
Peter DiCampo — Co-President, The Everyday Projects, USA
Peter T. Kilborn — Foreign and national correspondent (retired), The New York Times, Washington, DC, USA
Rana Sabbagh — Executive Director, Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)
Ray Choto — Senior Editor, Zimbabwe
Raymond Bonner — Former New York Times correspondent in Central America
Relly Davidson — Administrative Assistant for the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists (retired), Stanford University, USA
Renata Cabrales — Journalist, Social media editor, Bogotá, Colombia
Reyna Haydee Ramírez — Journalist, Mexico
Ricardo Corredor Cure — Chairman, Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) board, Brussels, Belgium
Ricardo Sandoval Palos — Investigations and longform editor, InsideClimate News, Washington DC, USA
Rick Young — Producer/Director, PBS FRONTLINE, USA
Rita Williams — Retired TV news reporter, Oakland, California, USA
Robert Milliken — Freelance journalist, Sydney, Australia
Robert Nickelsberg — Photojournalist, USA
Roberta Oster Sachs — Former Stanford University Knight Professional Journalism Fellow
Communications Director, Richmond, VA, USA
Romina Mella — Journalist, IDL-Reporteros, Peru
Rosa Santana — Journalist, Mexico
Rosental Alves — Director, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas at Austin, USA
Rui Araújo — Special Assignment Reporter, Televisão Independente (TVI), Lisbon, Portugal
Russell W. Skelton — Director, RMIT ABC Fact Check, Melbourne, Australia
Sandra Bartlett — Independent investigative journalist, Toronto, Canada
Sandra Crucianelli — Data journalist, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
Sarah Shourd — Journalist and Former Hostage, USA
Scott Wallace — Associate Professor of Journalism, University of Connecticut, USA
Seema Yasmin — Director, Stanford Health Communication Initiative, Stanford University, USA
Sergio Ramírez Mercado — Writer and former vice president of Nicaragua/Escritor y ex vicepresidente de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua
Sharon Dirlam — Staff writer (retired), Los Angeles Times, USA
Sharon Salyer — Reporter, The Herald, USA
Sol Lauria — Journalist, Argentina/ Panama
Stephen Grey — Special correspondent, Reuters, UK
Stephen Kinzer — Former New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua, USA
Stephen Proctor — Journalist (retired), USA
Steve Bradshaw — Freelance journalist and filmmaker, UK
Suman Pradhan — Former journalist, Nepal
Susan Meiselas — Photojournalist, Magnum Photos, USA
Susan Trausch — Columnist (retired), Boston Globe, USA
Susana Morán — Journalist, Ecuador
Susanne Reber — Executive editor, Reveal, USA
Sven Bergman — Reporter, Sveriges Television (Swedish Public TV), Sweden
Tania Molina — Journalist, La Jornada, Mexico
Tania Tinoco — Journalist, Ecuador
Tayyeb Afridi — Managing Editor, Tribal News Network, Pakistan
Ted Glasser — Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication, Stanford University, USA
Témoris Grecko — Documentary filmmaker, Colectivo Ojos de Perro vs. la Impunidad, Mexico
Teresa Montaño Delgado — Journalist, Mexico
Timothy J. Johnson — Reporter, former Latin America correspondent, McClatchy, USA
Titus Plattner — Investigative reporter, Vice Chair of ICIJ’s Network Committee, Tamedia, Switzerland
Tom Davidson — Director, product design and experimentation, USA TODAY Network/Gannett, USA
Tom Van de Weghe — Foreign Correspondent, Belgian VRT, Belgium
Umar Cheema — Special Investigative Correspondent, The News, Pakistan
Vania Pigeonutt — Journalist, Mexico
Vicente Ordoñez Pizarro — Journalist, former president of National Union of Journalists of Ecuador, El Universo, Ecuador
Walter V. Robinson — Editor At Large, The Boston Globe, USA
Warief Djajanto Basorie — Freelance journalist, Jakarta, Indonesia
William B. Brown — Newspaper editor (retired), USA
Xavier Bonilla (Bonil) — Editorial cartoonist/Caricaturista, Ecuador
Yasuomi Sawa — Senior News Writer, Kyodo News, Japan
Yevgenia M. Albats — Editor-in-Chief & CEO, The New Times, Moscow, Russian Federation
Yi-Shan Chen — Deputy managing editor, Commonwealth magazine, Taiwan