CPJ is honored to present its 2019 International Press Freedom Award to Nicaraguan-Costa Rican journalist Lucía Pineda Ubau and Nicaraguan journalist Miguel Mora.
Lucía Pineda Ubau has worked as a reporter for more than two decades for Nicaraguan outlets including TV Noticias and the news program "22/22," which she co-founded. She first worked at 100% Noticias from 1995 to 2001, when it was a news show, then rejoined it in 2008, when it had evolved into a 24-hour cable and digital channel. She is the news director of the outlet.
Miguel Mora is the director and founder of 100% Noticias, one of the main independent media outlets reporting on the political crisis in the country. Its journalists, especially Mora, have faced constant harassment and threats as a result of their reporting. The outlet is banned from broadcasting in Nicaragua, and the government has seized its studio and equipment.
- 100% Noticias YouTube Channel
- Interview with Miguel Mora, VOA Noticias, October 2018
- "Noticiero 100% Noticias mediodia con Lucía Pineda Ubau," November 2017
In June, Nicaraguan authorities released Pineda and Mora after detaining them in a December 2018 raid on the newsroom of 100% Noticias. The two were rushed through court appearances for a trial that was repeatedly delayed in which they were accused of "inciting violence and hate" and "promoting terrorism," allegations that CPJ called "absurd." They were kept under surveillance and in isolation for the majority of the 172 days they spent in prison, and their health, including their eyesight, deteriorated. Although Pineda also holds Costa Rican citizenship, Nicaraguan authorities denied Costa Rican authorities access to her while she was imprisoned.
CPJ repeatedly condemned Mora and Pineda's imprisonment and called for their release and for all charges against them to be dropped. In January 2019, we sent an open letter to President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo to express alarm and concern over their imprisonment. The letter was signed by CPJ and nearly 250 journalists from all over the world, including Algeria, Romania, and Taiwan.
The imprisonment of these journalists is emblematic of the media environment in Nicaragua, where authorities have cracked down on dissent since anti-government protests began in April 2018. Outlets have been shut down, and journalists have been targeted with violence, harassment, and persecution. Dozens have fled Nicaragua. CPJ's Emergencies team has provided many of them, including colleagues of Pineda and Mora from 100% Noticias, with assistance and has distributed safety updates on the media environment in the country.