The continued attacks on the press and journalists in Nicaragua marks the worst year of press freedom in the country in recent memory, as the free press continues to be attacked in Latin America in what is turning into the deadliest year for journalists in the region.

The government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua has created one of the most perilous times for the press in the country in recent memory. This has been highlighted with the closure of esteemed newspaper La Prensa and the imprisonment of its publisher Juan Lorenzo Holmann for money laundering charges, according to Voice of America.

Many journalists in Nicaragua have been detained or arrested during the Ortega administration, with many of them, like sports journalist Miguel Mendoza, said to be arrested because of writing content that has been critical of Ortega’s presidency. Over 150 journalists in the country are said to be working in exile due to the repression pushed by the government against them, Havana News reported.

Media outlets in the country also run the risk of having their license revoked by the governing body for broadcasters, Telcor. It has been accused of being used by the government as a weapon to close down broadcasters, which this year included 17 different outlets.

These actions against journalists have forced the many remaining outlets to self-censor their content, with many outlets suspending their coverage of political news due to fears of being targeted by the Ortega administration.

“Nicaraguan journalism suffers the most repressive period in its history,” Eduardo Enriquez, the editor-in-chief of La Prensa, said. “But not only journalism; the Catholic Church and all of society.”

This comes as Latin America experiences its deadliest year against journalists since 1998, with a reported 37 murders of journalists being seen through November. Beyond Nicaragua, countries like Mexico have their leaders attacking the press openly to the point where they are fearing for their lives, with journalists either being murdered or exiled.

“Authoritarianism is spreading like a pandemic, and we have strong regressions in democratic matters,” Leopoldo Maldonado, the regional director of Articulo 19, said. Regarding how leaders like Ortega sees journalists in their country, he said that “[authoritarians] do not understand that, instead, they place journalism as an enemy.”

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega
Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega speaks during an event to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Nicaraguan Army in Managua. Photo by: Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas

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