U.S. Press Leaders Protest Abuse of Journalists in Nicaragua

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute condemned the escalating…

WASHINGTON, June 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute condemned the escalating harassment and intimidation of journalists in Nicaragua. 

National Press Club President Lisa Nicole Matthews and NPC Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane issued the following statement: 

«The recent wave of prosecutorial overreach in Nicaragua appears motivated to silence independent journalists. It is unjustified and should stop. Press freedom is a basic human right, and Nicaraguans should not be denied it.»

Prosecutors in Nicaragua called in at least 20 journalists in May for «interviews,» and in some cases threatened the journalists with indictment. In addition, police conducted raids on several newsrooms, confiscating equipment. 

The harassment campaign appears to grow out of the Nicaraguan government’s targeting of Cristiana Chamorro, a human rights and press freedom advocate who has expressed an interest in challenging Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s quest for a third term, and her journalist brother, Carlos Fernando Chamorro

One of those summoned to testify in the investigation of Christiana Chamorro, Maria Lilly Delgado, was called twice to testify and was indicted, after prosecutors had threatened to indict her and other journalists who showed up accompanied by lawyers. 

«They said if we insisted on the presence of our defense lawyers, the Prosecutor’s Office would have to change us from the status of witnesses to defendants,» said Delgado, the Managua correspondent for Univision, in an interview with the «100 % Noticias» news site.

The Nicaraguan Ministry of Interior is investigating Cristiana Chamorro over alleged money laundering at Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, where Chamorro served as executive director until February.

The U.S. State Department, which has been a major funder of the human rights group, said regular audits turned up no evidence of financial irregularities.

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club’s non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.

Contact: John Donnelly, NPC Press Freedom Team Chairman: jdonnelly@cq.com, 202.650.6738

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SOURCE National Press Club