Police guard facilities of Channel 12 in Nicaragua and inspect staff

On the morning of Jan. 24, Nicaraguan Channel 12 was surrounded by riot police and more than thirty red beret police officers, reported Artículo 66.

The police officers checked the workers who entered the channel asking them to present their identification, site Confidencial reported. They also asked them how long they worked at the media outlet and if they carried weapons, according to the site.

Channel 12 journalists blamed the Nicaraguan Police for "anything" that happens to them, La Tribuna reported.

Edison Lanza, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), said via Twitter that the siege on Channel 12 is another sign that the government of Nicaragua "violates freedom of expression in a systematic way."

Paulo Abrao, Executive Secretary of the IACHR also condemned the harassment of Channel 12 via Twitter. "The Government continues to violate basic rights and freedoms of expression inherent in the rule of law," he said.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, Confidencial reported, the Telecommunications and Postal Services Institute (Telcor) had verbally notified Channel 12 that it should stop transmitting the debate and interviews programs "Danilo Lacayo en Vivo", "Esta Noche" and "Esta Semana," all directed by the journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro.

However, on Wednesday, Jan. 23, the regulatory entity argued that the information of that alleged act of censorship by Telcor had been fake news to harm the government, Confidencial published.

Chamorro is the founder and editor of the digital site Confidencial, whose newsroom was raided and occupied by the police on Dec. 21. He recently went into exile in Costa Rica, as announced on Jan. 20.

"This rectification is a positive signal," Chamorro said on Facebook Live from the Confidencial profile. "We hope that the Government fully rectifies all the abuses and the repressive escalation it has unleashed against the independent press, starting with the release of journalists Miguel Mora and Lucía Pineda, who should be released," he demanded.

Chamorro also asked the government to cease the military occupation of 100% Noticias, of the newsrooms of Confidencial and Esta Semana, and for the cessation of attacks against other independent media that have led to the exile of more than 50 journalists.