Members of the national police are seen in Masaya, Nicaragua, on October 11, 2020. CPJ joined a call for the Nicaraguan government to stop harassing and obstructing journalists. (AFP/Maynor Valenzuela)

CPJ joins call for Nicaragua government to stop restricting press freedom

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined three other human rights organizations in a joint statement commemorating Nicaragua’s national Day of the Journalist and calling on authorities to end the widespread harassment of members of the press, and ensure media outlets and press freedom organizations can work safely.

In the statement, CPJ joined three regional free expression and human rights groups—IFEX-ALC, AMARC-ALC, and The Institute of Race, Equality, and Human Rights—in a condemnation of the years-long crackdown on the press in Nicaragua.

Since officials and security forces responded brutally to widespread protests in April 2018, as CPJ documented at the time, news outlets have been forced to close and individual journalists have been threatened, harassed, sued, surveilled, jailed, and forced into exile, the organizations write.

The statement also expresses concern about two pieces of legislation passed late last year, including one that requires individuals and organizations receiving funding from outside Nicaragua to register as “foreign agents,” and which expanded the government’s capacity to control and silence the press.

Ahead of national elections scheduled for November 2021, the statement calls on Nicaraguan officials to uphold international obligations to ensure press freedom and access to information, stop using restrictive laws to censor the press, and allow reporters and press freedom organizations to work freely.

The full statement is available in English and Spanish.