16 Jun 2021
On 8 June 2021, independent journalist Wilfredo Miranda, of the digital news portal Divergentes, was summoned by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, questioned about his work, and accuse of “lying” articles that he wrote and that criticize the government of Daniel Ortega.
Miranda said that prosecutor Heidi Ramírez had collected several of his articles, which she showed him during a break in the session. “She began to accuse me, saying that I was lying, that I was violating the Cybercrime Law,” said the journalist, who was summoned as a witness in the case of alleged money laundering against the Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (FVBCH) and its former director, journalist and presidential hopeful Cristiana Chamorro.
Miranda attributed the prosecutor’s accusations to a newspaper article that he had written about the police raid of Chamorro’s house. Cristina Chamorro has been under house arrest since the 2 of June – with her house sieged and occupied by members of the National Police.
The judicial official also questioned the journalist about the news headlines he had published as a correspondent for the newspaper El País, “and basically she was shouting at me all the time and saying that I was lying”, he said.
A similar attack was experienced by journalist Fabián Medina, a columnist for the local daily La Prensa, who was summoned by the prosecutor’s office on the 10th June. He said that the prosecutor who questioned him during the summons accused him of “lying in his articles” and of not being able to “prove” his criticism of the regime.
“There is an attempt to turn the exercise of journalism into a crime, by defining what is a lie” and what is not, Medina declared at the end of the meeting. “This is a warning bell because they are touching a fundamental right in society”, such as freedom of expression, press and information, he said.
In public interviews, the prosecutor’s office insisted on the validity of the controversial Special Law on Cybercrime, approved at the end of 2020 by the parliament –dominated by the ruling party – which applies fines and prison sentences to those who disseminate and/or publish “false news or those who incite hatred” in the country.
CIDH grants precautionary measures in favour of journalist Kalua Salazar
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), by its acronym in Spanish) granted precautionary measures in favor of journalist Kalua Salazar and her family, in South Caribbean city of Bluefields, “after considering that they are in a serious and urgent situation of risk of irreparable harm to their rights in Nicaragua”.
Salazar is head of press for the radio station La Costeñísima. The IACHR based its precautionary measures on “the fact that she is a victim of threats, harassment and surveillance by state authorities and private individuals due to her journalistic work”. For this reason, it asked the Nicaraguan government to “adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Kalua Salazar and his family”.
Since 2018 local media organizations, as well as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and PEN International, have demanded the government to respect for the human rights of journalist Salazar.
Translation: Verónica Maza Bustamante