Violent acts and legal threats haunt Nicaraguan journalists while carrying out their duties

For Wilih Narvaez, the uncertainty of the possible threat of detention or attack is a difficulty he faces on a daily basis in carrying out his duties as a journalist in Nicaragua.

On the day he spoke to FLY, authorities prevented Mauricio Madrigal, one of Narvaez’s associates on independent broadcaster Canal 10, from leaving the country.

Narvaez himself was also attacked. An unknown person threatened himself and his family and threw stones at his home in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, in February.

“It was an attack on my security,” Narvaez said.

The 37-year-old journalist said the attack was part of the daily threats faced by journalists working for media that are not part of the Nicaraguan government.

He believes this is a result of emerging rhetoric and hostile attitudes from police and officials towards the media.

“The police said things about us on social media. There are threats of arrest or legal action that they can take at any time or also (threats to) close our broadcasting channels. This uncertainty is difficult to deal with,” he told FLY in a telephone interview.

There is only one month left until Nicaragua holds its new presidential and parliamentary elections. However, threats that come in the form of detention and interference affect the course of the reporting process for the upcoming elections.

The attacks and lawsuits carried out by President Daniel Ortega’s government make it difficult for the media to carry out their functions, according to journalists there. Meanwhile, long-term economic difficulties have made it difficult to import supplies, including printing paper.

Ortega’s government has been criticized internationally, including the United States and the European Union, for its crackdown on opposition parties and media critical of the ruling government. (jm / em)

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