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PEN Nicaragua demands respect for journalists carrying out their profession

Thursday 19 April 2018 - 12:00am

Alfredo Zúñiga being attacked (Source: Comercio)

Managua, 19 April 2018 – PEN Nicaragua, an association of writers and journalists affiliated with PEN International, the largest network defending freedom of expression across the globe with 30,000 members  and 140 Centres, denounces the following:

  1. The following journalists have been affected as a result of violence carried out by groups associated with the Government – and tolerated by the national police – against members of the public who were peacefully protesting reforms to the country’s Social Security system:
    • Julio López from Onda Local, who suffered a concussion and loss of memory as a result of blows he received to the head.
    • Alfredo Zúñiga from AP news agency, who was attacked by the Sandinista Youth, receiving a head injury. His camera was also taken.
    • René Cuadra from 100% Noticias, who was attacked and stripped of a video camera worth US$25,000.
    • Carlos Herrera, photographer for Confidencial, beaten.
    • Néstor Arce, journalist for Confidencial, beaten.
    • Maynor Salazar, journalist for Confidencial, beaten.
    • Richard Salgado, cameraman for Confidencial, attacked.
    • Roger Sánchez, cameraman for Canal 23, beaten and robbed of his camera.
    • Melissa Aguilera, journalist for Canal 23, attacked.
    • Roy Moncada and Emiliano Chamorro from La Prensa, followed and threatened.
    • Alvaro Navarro from Artículo 66, member of PEN, was attacked and his mobile phone stolen.
  2. Most recently, the Government has ordered the following television channels to cease transmission:  Canal 100% Noticias, Canal 12, Canal 23, Canal 51, and cable channel Telenorte Estelí, among others

PEN Nicaragua calls on the government of Nicaragua to respect the right of its citizens to peacefully protest against reforms with which they do not agree. Falling within the scope of freedom of expression and thought, this is an inalienable and essential right for all citizens, enshrined in the country’s Constitution.

In turn, PEN Nicaragua calls for the immediate suspension of measures taken to close the independent media mentioned above, and urges respect for the physical integrity of journalists who fulfil their professional duties.

PEN Nicaragua strongly requests the immediate return of all professional equipment that has been seized, confiscated or stolen during the protests as it represents a violation of the right to information. In particular, we demand the return of a valuable camera to Canal 100% Noticias.

As writers and journalists who promote a culture of respect for freedom of opinion and expression, and who are nourished by the diversity of opinion natural to all human society, we reiterate our call on the Government of Nicaragua to cease its repression of the nation’s journalist and restore their right to fully and freely exercise their profession.