Nicaraguan journalists Miguel Mendoza (left) and Juan Lorenzo Holmann
Miguel Mendoza (left) and Juan Lorenzo Holmann speak to CPJ in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Esha Sarai)

‘I turned around and said goodbye to Nicaragua’: A bitter freedom for 2 deported journalists

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Nicaraguan journalists Juan Lorenzo Holmann and Miguel Mendoza had served more than 500 days of their nine-year prison sentences when guards ordered them from their cells and put them on the buses that would take them to a plane bound for Washington, D.C.

Holmann, the publisher of La Prensa newspaper, and Mendoza, a veteran sports reporter, were among 222 political prisoners unexpectedly released by Nicaraguan authorities and deported to the United States on February 9. Stripped of their citizenship and unable to return home, they spoke to CPJ’s Dánae Vílchez about their harsh experiences in prison, their continuing commitment to freedom of expression, and why their release is so bittersweet.

Read the interview with Holmann, the interview with Mendoza, and watch a video of the interviews.

Separately, CPJ explored how phones and computers help Iranian journalists cover the news—and how police seize and use those devices to convict them. CPJ has counted at least 95 journalists arrested since the start of nationwide protests in Iran last year, making Iran the world’s worst jailer of journalists in CPJ’s 2022 prison census. More than half of those arrested journalists—at least 48—had their devices seized.

Global press freedom updates

  • Indian tax authority raids BBC after critical documentary
  • Journalist Alexander Álvarez shot and killed in Paraguay
  • ‘Like going to the war front’: Nigerian journalists offer tips for covering 2023 elections; separately, CPJ joins call for Nigeria to maintain internet, social media access during elections
  • ‘Don’t give up’: After fleeing overseas, Hong Kong journalists fight on
  • ‘I am challenged at the court for simply doing my job’: Journalists covering climate issues in Europe face growing threats
  • CPJ launches safety videos to support journalists covering unrest globally
  • Journalists covering Turkey earthquake detained and harassed
  • CPJ joins calls to establish independent investigative mechanism for accountability in human rights violations in Belarus
  • Cambodian authorities shutter Voice of Democracy news outlet
  • Tunisian authorities arrest Mosaique FM director Noureddine Boutar
  • Iranian authorities arrest Kurdish journalist Siamand Mohtadi


Illustration of murdered Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak. (Gianluca Costantini)

To mark the five-year anniversary of the killing of Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, CPJ will join a delegation of international media freedom organizations to visit Bratislava, Slovakia, on February 20.

Follow our Twitter account over the coming days for live updates from the mission by Tom Gibson, CPJ’s EU representative and advocacy manager.

How should newsrooms support journalists facing political retaliation? What does journalistic accountability truly mean for U.S. and global newsrooms? On Friday, February 24, join the China Project at Yale University in a discussion with renowned journalists on the ethics of reporting in and on mainland China and Hong Kong. The conference is co-sponsored by CPJ. Register for the conference for free here.

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