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Nicaraguan activists and journalists allege “low intensity warfare” against independent media

The Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights (CENIDH) announced that in the coming weeks it will present a report to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH) about press freedom violations in the country, AFP reports. In recent months, two newspapers have alleged persecution at the hands of President Daniel Ortega, while an opposition TV network went off the the air several days ago.

CENIDH’s director, Vilma Núñez, said its findings would be passed to the CIDH’s freedom of expression monitor in Washington. The report says: “There is low intensity warfare that utilizes various methods to reduce the power of independent media, while many media owners are disadvantaged because they cannot trust the authorities.”

The most recent example of such a conflict involved Condega TV, which went silent Jan. 17 after threats and sabotage.

The Associated Press reports that the station has been receiving threats since 2008, when it criticized the government and alleged electoral fraud in city elections that gave more power to Ortega’s Sandinista party. “People connected to the government have threatened to attack us or wipe us out in anonymous phone calls," says station owner Alexis Peralta, quoted by the AP.

Additionally, two newspapers, El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa, report having received threats and harassment after reporting on corruption allegations.

Similar complaints against the Ortega government began to increase two years ago, when the police raided the offices of the Center for Media Investigations, directed by journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, the winner of the 2010 María Moors Cabot Prize.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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