Nicaraguan journalist who was jailed by the Ortega government receives IWMF Courage in Journalism Award

Costa Rican-Nicaraguan journalist Lucía Pineda is one of five women journalists to be honored with the 2019 Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).

Lucía Pineda Ubau from Nicaragua

Lucía Pineda Ubau (Twitter)

The awards, announced on July 9, honor “the brave journalists who report on taboo topics, work in environments hostile to women and share difficult truths.”

Pineda, news director of 100% Noticias, and her colleague, director Miguel Mora, were arrested as their television station was taken over by police on Dec. 21, 2018. They faced charges of “fomenting and inciting hate and violence” and “provocation, proposition and conspiracy to commit terrorist acts,” according to DW.

The two were finally released on June 11 after six months behind bars. Pineda said she suffered psychological attacks while she was in prison and that she was accused of being a coup leader.

“While imprisoned, Pineda never gave up, saying, ‘everything I’ve done has been for the love of my country,’” the IWMF noted in its press release.

In a Facebook video, Pineda dedicated her award to God, who she said protected the 100% Noticias team in their “historic coverage that [they] carried out of the massacre the Nicaraguan government carried out against the people.”

“As a journalist we are not looking for a prize. We just wanted to inform and it is gratifying that they would honor you for doing your job, for reporting,” she said.

She later said she dreams of returning to an active newsroom, that exiled Nicaraguans and journalists can return to their country and that the offices of news site Confidencial will be returned.

“Let’s continue to pray that God allows us to exercise our profession in Nicaragua without being persecuted, without being harassed, threatened, imprisoned or killed,” Pineda said.

Other winners of the Courage in Journalism Awards are Ukrainian journalist Anna Babinets of SLIDSTVO.INFO and Nastya Stanko of Hromadske, Anna Nimiriano of The Juba Monitor in South Sudan and Liz Sly, the Beirut bureau chief for The Washington Post. The IWMF Lifetime Achievement Award goes to the founders of the IWMF in recognition of the organization’s 30th anniversary.

All winners will be recognized in New York City and Washington, D.C.