Nicaraguan journalists Juan Lorenzo Holmann (Left, photo: La Prensa) and Miguel Mendoza Urbina (Photo: Oscar Navarrete/AFP) were recently released from prison and deported to the United States.

Nicaragua releases, sends hundreds of political prisoners, 2 journalists to US

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Nicaraguan authorities freed and deported 222 political prisoners to the United States on Thursday, including at least two journalists: Juan Lorenzo Holmann Chamorro, publisher of La Prensa, and Miguel Mendoza Urbina, a sports and political commentator.

Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, said the deportation “brings a sense of relief that they will no longer have to spend years in prison” but called on authorities to “guarantee that the media can report without fear of detention or forced exile.”

Separately, on Wednesday in the U.S. state of Ohio, Evan Lambert, a correspondent for the cable network NewsNation, was arrested and charged while covering a press conference on a recent train derailment. Lambert was giving a live report when law enforcement officers approached and asked him to stop speaking because Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was simultaneously giving a press conference.

Lambert finished his report, and then the officers surrounded him, pushed him to the ground, and handcuffed him. Lambert was brought to the Columbiana County Jail, held until about 10 p.m., and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.

“It is outrageous that local law enforcement in Ohio would arrest and charge a journalist for simply doing his job and reporting live from a press conference,” said CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen. “East Palestine law enforcement should immediately drop all charges against NewsNation correspondent Evan Lambert and thoroughly investigate why he was arrested in the first place. There is no reason why a journalist should be manhandled while reporting the nightly news.”

Global press freedom updates

  • Indian journalist Shashikant Warishe killed after coverage of land dispute
  • Mexican journalist Alan García’s whereabouts unknown after December abduction
  • Journalist Mortaza Behboudi detained by Taliban since January 7
  • Pakistani journalist Imran Riaz Khan arrested for alleged hate speech
  • Belarusian authorities sentence journalist Andrzej Poczobut to 8 years in prison, detain journalist Anastasia Sharkevich
  • Russian authorities seek 9-year prison term for journalist Maria Ponomarenko, detain RFE/RL columnist Iskander Yasaveyev. Separately, a Russian court summons Kazakh outlet Arbat.Media over Ukraine war coverage
  • Ukrainska Pravda journalists receive menacing messages online after report on politician
  • Journalist Elnaz Mohammadi arrested at Evin Prison in Iran. The journalist is the twin sister of Elahe Mohammadi, the imprisoned journalist who was among the first to report the September 16, 2022, death in morality-police custody of Mahsa Amini. As of January 24, CPJ had recorded 94 arrests of journalists in Iran, with 47 released on bail
  • Algerian journalist Mustapha Bendjama arrested
  • Cameroonian police arrest businessman investigated by murdered journalist Martinez Zogo

Read more news alerts here


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on October 5, 2022.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on October 5, 2022. (AFP/Frederick Florin)

CPJ and 43 civil society organizations on Thursday wrote to the European Parliament to ask them to ensure that the upcoming European Media Freedom Act is as strong as possible. The drafted law seeks to strengthen media freedom and pluralism in E.U. member states.

In partnership with CPJ, Exile Content Studio and PRX launched a new true crime podcast, “Shoot the Messenger.” The first season, “Espionage, Murder, and Pegasus Software,” examines the assassination of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, exposing the role of NSO Group’s Pegasus software in tracking the journalist’s inner circle before his murder, and reveals the growing threat of surveillance to people, journalists, and activists across the globe.

🎙️ Listen to the latest episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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