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US press leaders to hold conference with Nicaraguan journalists

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US press leaders to hold conference with Nicaraguan journalists

US press leaders to hold conference with Nicaraguan journalists
Photo: Alfredo Zuniga/Associated Press

Leading members of the US press will hold a conference with Nicaraguan journalists today to discuss the state of the Central American country’s press freedoms.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega used 2018 welfare reform protests to repress opposition to his now 11-year regime. Efforts intensified ahead of the November 7 presidential and legislative elections with Ortega jailing and driving into exile opposition candidates.

Opposition members content that Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, aggressively attacked independent media following the 2018 protests, shutting down print and broadcast outlets. Recent legislation requiring financial disclosures from individuals and organizations receiving foreign donations has also been utilized to force the closure of those supporting freedom of expression and information.

Today’s conference will raise further awareness around press freedoms in Central America. Voter intimidation and bribery of election officials mean Ortega likely will win November’s elections, and freedom of expression restrictions make this outcome only more certain. Recent EU sanctions on Murillo means Ortega’s actions increasingly draw international attention. Still, foreign countries can do little to protect Nicaragua’s press freedom. Expect Ortega’s repression campaign to continue, likely causing La Prensa, Nicaragua’s sole remaining independent newspaper, to move its editorial operations abroad to continue reporting.

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