The 39-year-old Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario has suspended publication for the first time because the government has allegedly blocked all ink and paper imports at customs.
This comes as the international media report a return to repression for the country with soldiers on the streets.
The newspaper, which is based in the Nicaraguan capital Managua, said in a social media statement that they decided to stop publishing because of “technical and logistical economic difficulties that make its operation unsustainable”.
According to local media, President Daniel Ortega’s regime has been using the General Directorate of Customs to hold paper, ink and other materials for over a year, affecting the company Editorial Nuevo Amanecer which publishes ‘El Nuevo Diario’.
Carlos Fernando Chamorro, an exiled Nicaraguan journalist and son of former governor Violeta Chamorro (1990-1997), criticised the government and its alleged attack on press freedom on Twitter.
Chamorro said: “The suspension of the publication of El Nuevo Diario is a consequence of the state’s customs blockade against the newspapers, which for over a year has prevented them from importing paper and supplies in an administrative censorship [of the press].”
Reports said that since December 2018, ‘El Nuevo Diario’ had been forced to reduce its pages from 38 to eight during the week while ceasing all publications on the weekend to manage the shortage of supplies.
Edison Lanza of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said: “We are entering a sophisticated stage of media repression in Nicaragua with harassment from the tax authority, labour inspections and the import restrictions on supplies.
The president of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), Maria Elvira Dominguez, and Roberto Rock, President of the IAPA Press Freedom and Information Commission, have visited Nicaragua twice in less than a year, according to reports.
The IAPA leaders slammed the alleged escalation of “repression and harassment” against the independent press and demanded an end to the customs blockade.
According to local media, the IAPA will hold a General Assembly in Miami from 4th to 7th October to address the allegations of press restrictions, violence against journalists and bills aimed at restricting freedom of speech.
The Organization of American States (OEA) reportedly accused Daniel Ortega’s regime in December 2018 of carrying out systematic and organised violence against the population. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) supported the OEA accusing the State Police of several murders and attacks against the people.
The protests against Ortega’s government escalated in April 2018 when extreme violence was reportedly used to repress the opposing movements. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), more than 70,000 had to flee Nicaragua because of the violence against opponents to the regime.
The Civic Alliance for Justice started conversations with Ortega’s regime in March 2019 to negotiate a peaceful solution to the social, political and economic crisis but the government stop them last August arguing that the opposition was absent from the negotiating table.
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Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News