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IFEX-ALC condemns repression in Nicaragua

Friends and relatives cry during the funeral of the student Gerald Velazquez, shot dead during clashes with riot police in a church near the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, on 16 July 2018
Friends and relatives cry during the funeral of the student Gerald Velazquez, shot dead during clashes with riot police in a church near the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, on 16 July 2018

INTI OCON/AFP/Getty Images

The organisations that make up the IFEX-ALC and defend freedom of expression and press freedom in 15 countries across Latin American and the Caribbean, and that are members of IFEX – a global network dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of expression – condemn the threats, attacks, harassment and censorship against media outlets and journalists in Nicaragua, as well as the brutal repression against those who have taken to the streets to express their discontent with the government of President Daniel Ortega.

Since 18 April 2018, when protests against the government of Daniel Ortega began, Nicaragua has experienced a sharp decline in the ability to exercise the right to free expression and access to information. Hundreds of people have been injured or deprived of their freedom. At least 270 people have died as a result of repression at protests, at the hands of state agents or pro-government individuals.

As the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) has stated, the press has also been a victim of “interference by State agents and by violent acts perpetrated by third parties.” For example, on 21 April, journalist Ángel Gahona was murdered while covering a protest; afterwards, his family received death threats. Other examples include the attack on Radio Darío, whose headquarters were torched while its journalists were on-air, the fire at the State station Radio ya, and the attack on 100% Noticias' offices. Furthermore, several journalists have been assaulted while covering protests, and some have received death threats. These attacks must be swiftly investigated by state authorities, and those found responsible must be sanctioned.

The 24 organisations that make up the IFEX-ALC network call upon the Nicaraguan state to:

● Respect and guarantee human rights, and the right to free expression of its residents, and immediately cease the repression against those who oppose the current government.

● Comply with international treaties on human rights ratified by Nicaragua, which guarantee the ability to fully exercise journalism in a professional and independent manner in order to provide trustworthy information in matters in the public interest, and protect the right of citizens to stay informed. To have a free and independent press is the right of all citizens, and an obligation for any and all democratic governments.

Artículo 19 (Mexico and Central America)
Artigo 19 (Brazil)
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC)
Association of Caribbean Media Workers
Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism
Centro de Archivos y Acceso a la Información Pública
Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social
Comité por la Libre Expresión - C-Libre
Derechos Digitales
Espacio Público
Foro de Periodismo Argentino
Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP
Fundación Karisma
Fundamedios - Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study
Instituto de Prensa y Libertad de Expresión - IPLEX
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela
Latin American Observatory of Regulation, Media and Convergence - OBSERVACOM
National Press Association
Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión - OLA
Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay
Trinidad and Tobago's Publishers and Broadcasters Association
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

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