Nicaragua Special Report: Daniel Ortega's Media War
"Ortega has made himself an isolated and secretive figure: He has never given an official press conference, his political agenda is virtually unknown, his government officials are inaccessible, and his health is apparently a state secret. Published reports frequently note the widespread public speculation, thus far unconfirmed, that Ortega suffers from lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. The government’s communication strategy is strictly controlled by Rosario Murillo; no official in the executive branch will talk to the media without her authorization. Two officials who challenged Murillo’s hermetic policy by providing information to La Prensa were immediately fired, said the paper’s director, Jaime Chamorro Cardenal, brother of Pedro Joaquín.
“We decide what we want to say, and when we want to say it,” the government’s top human rights official, Omar Cabezas Lacayo, told CPJ. “As human rights ombudsman, I have no respect at all for the private media’s ethic, which is clearly supported by the CIA.” Rafael Solís, vice president of the Supreme Court and an Ortega confidant, said that the government centralizes communication to avoid disagreement. “Murillo,” he said, “wants the government to have a single voice. It is just a matter of style.”
International donors have a different perspective. They see the deterioration of civil institutions—combined with evidence of systematic fraud in municipal elections—as indications that the government is not committed to democracy. They worry that Ortega may seek to retain power by amending the Constitution to allow an additional term in office. As a result, the U.S. government-backed Millennium Challenge Corporation has withdrawn US$62 million in aid for development, while the European Commission and other European donors have frozen US$65 million in operating aid. Both the United States and the European Union have insisted that the Nicaraguan government address allegations of electoral fraud."
This is part of a lengthier article by Carlos Lauría and Joel Simon for the CPJ Committe to Protect Journalists
Rest of the story at: