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Nicaragua's press defiant in the face of arson attacks and mob violence

People attend the 'Marcha de las Flores' -in honor of the children killed during protests- in Managua, Nicaragua, 30 June 2018
People attend the 'Marcha de las Flores' -in honor of the children killed during protests- in Managua, Nicaragua, 30 June 2018

MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images

The following is an excerpt of a 9 July 2018 CPJ blog post by John Otis/CPJ Andes Correspondent.

At the temporary office of Radio Darío in the Nicaraguan city of León, reporters have set up two emergency escape routes: a trap door that opens into the dining room of the house next door and a ladder leading to the roof.

Radio Darío workers are, understandably, spooked. About a dozen of them were caught inside the station's original headquarters on April 20 when it was set on fire by a pro-government mob. They escaped, but the building was destroyed, a security guard was hospitalized with burns, and two of the arsonists died in the flames, according to news reports.

"They tried to burn us alive," Henry Blanco, a Radio Darío reporter, told CPJ during a visit last month to the nondescript bungalow in León that now houses the station. "But we are adapting."

The attack was part of a wave of violence against Nicaragua's independent media as they cover a three-month-old uprising against President Daniel Ortega. One was shot dead while reporting via Facebook live. Many other journalists told CPJ that they have been beaten, shot at by snipers or had their equipment stolen by police or pro-Ortega paramilitaries.

Read the full blog post on CPJ's site.

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