Press freedom is at risk of becoming “progressively extinguished” in Nicaragua, where independent journalists critical of the government suffer arbitrary arrests and police violence, the Paris-based organization Reporters Without Borders said on Wednesday.
Since protests first erupted against President Daniel Ortega in April, “police forces no longer only obstruct the work of journalists covering demonstrations and protests by the population, but now undertake direct violent action against journalists,” according to the statement.
The tactics include beatings, insults and surveillance by police, online harassment and forcing television and radio stations to go off the air.
Some journalists have fled death threats and persecution by going into exile, Reporters Without Borders said.
Ortega’s government has cracked down on protests and the opposition with a heavy hand. More than 500 people have been killed in political violence since April, according to human rights activists.