Fearing Ortega, Nicaragua’s La Prensa newspaper to work in exile

ortega Nicaragua Anti-government protests in Managua. Photo: Riderfoot/Shutterstock
Anti-government protests in Managua. Photo: Riderfoot/Shutterstock

Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa, one of the country’s oldest still in operation, has told its entire team to flee the country in July. The decision came amid President Daniel Ortega’s moves to curtail press freedoms. 

The 95-year-old newspaper, critical of the Ortega regime, will keep its entire online operation remote — mostly in Costa Rica. La Prensa said the company is avoiding “government persecution.” 

Reporters Without Borders lamented the news, confirming that the newsroom fled Nicaragua in secret between July 9 and 25.

The case follows an escalation of harassment that sharply increased in 2018 — a turning point in the human rights abuses under Mr. Ortega’s government. La Prensa was targeted by the government in early July when two workers were arrested under unspecified charges. 

The paper’s print edition stopped running in August 2021, reportedly due to a government-led paper and ink blockade. Other Nicaraguan outlets have been facing similar attacks.

To justify the arrest of political opponents and activists, Mr. Ortega claims he is trying to avoid a “foreign plot” from overthrowing his government. Multiple opponents faced controversial money laundering accusations. 

The Nicaraguan president was re-elected to a fourth consecutive term in 2021 after arresting seven potential challengers.

On July 28, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) urged the attacks to stop and said the La Prensa “mass exile” proves a “clear hunt for journalists in Nicaragua.”