In a statement, the board of directors of newspaper El Nuevo Diario reported that it decided to discontinue its digital and print publication due to economic, technical and logistical difficulties that make its operation "unsustainable" after four decades of circulation.
— El Nuevo Diario (@elnuevodiario) September 27, 2019
"We are aware of the importance of El Nuevo Diario as a key media outlet in the journalistic coverage of several relevant stages in the recent history of Nicaragua, from its founding in May 1980 until today," the newspaper said in its editorial on Friday, Sept. 27. It also thanked its entire team of professionals, its readers and subscribers of the newspaper, for whom it announced the reimbursement of memberships.
Group Editorial Nuevo Mundo also closed the digital and print versions of its other two newspapers, Metro and Maje, according to EFE. In December 2018, it was already forced to close its popular newspaper Q’hubo also for lack of materials.
According to the Spanish agency, the government of Daniel Ortega, through the General Directorate of Customs Services (DGA, for its initials in Spanish), has retained printing supplies of both of El Nuevo Diario and La Prensa, the main independent newspapers of the country, since September 2018.
Since mid-January, El Nuevo Diario, due to lack of supplies, stopped circulating nationwide on weekends.
In August of this year, due to the shortage of raw materials, El Nuevo Diario reduced its publication from 38 to 8 pages, according to CNN en Español. And since July 2019 it had been forced to change its format from standard to tabloid.
In early September, the Customs and Administrative Tax Court of Nicaragua ordered the DGA through two resolutions to deliver printing supplies to El Nuevo Diario. DGA only released 20 percent of the paper and 37 percent of the ink, El Nuevo Diario reported.
The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Edison Lanza, said via Twitter regarding the closure of El Nuevo Diario: “We are entering a more sophisticated stage of media repression in Nicaragua with harassment from agency of taxes, labor inspections, import restrictions on supplies (paper and others).”.
"The suspension of the publication of El Nuevo Diario is a consequence of the customs blockade of the state against the newspapers, which for more than a year has prevented them from importing paper and supplies, in an administrative censorship," Carlos Fernando Chamorro, journalist and director of the Nicaraguan site, said via Twitter from exile in Costa Rica. "We condemn this aggression against freedom of expression," he published.
During the conversations in March of this year, between the government and the Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy, to negotiate a peaceful solution to the social, political and economic crisis that the country has been experiencing since April 2018, the Ortega government promised to deliver the printing supplies retained in customs, EFE published.
However, Ortega announced the end of negotiations with the opposition in early August accusing the opposition of being absent from the negotiating table, EFE and AFP reported.
Since the social protests against the social security measures of the current Nicaraguan government began in April 2018, the independent and critical press has been severely repressed.
The main newspapers critical of the government have been affected by the lack of printing supplies, such as La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario, as they were obligated to reduce their printing since the end of the past year.
Communicators and journalists have been jailed, among them the director of 100% Noticias, Miguel Mora, and chief of information, Lucía Pineda, who were in prison for six months without being sentenced. Many other journalists, like Carlos Fernando Chamorro of Confidencial, had to leave the country to continue reporting about what is happening in Nicaragua. To date, the facilities of 100% Noticias and Confidencial are being occupied by police.