MANAGUA – More than two-dozen journalists protested Monday in Managua demanding respect for freedom of the press and freedom of speech, while expressing their solidarity with all their fellow professionals who have been attacked in more than three months of protests against the Nicaraguan government, during which several hundred have died.
“Freedom of the press is a right of all citizens and our own right to do the work and we’re not giving it up,” journalist Luis Galeano said.
Galeano said “a dirty campaign” is being waged against journalists who do not support the government nor work in government-run media to try to “bring us down” and “intimidate our families,” adding that whatever happens, they will continue doing their work as professionals.
The most recent aggression against journalists was the kidnapping of Channel 10 television correspondent Roberto Collado while he was covering a march this Sunday backing the Catholic bishops in the city of Granada.
After four hours in the hands of hooded armed thugs, according to videos on social media, Collado, 22, was released with a wound on his head and his whole body showing signs of a ferocious beating.
On July 27 another Channel 10 reporter, Paco Espinoza, was arrested while covering unrest in the northern part of the country.
“We stand with the people. We cannot normalize aggression against journalists,” said Channel 12 television reporter Wilmer Benavidez.
Journalists have been arrested and harassed amid a crisis that has left between 295 and 448 dead in protests against President Daniel Ortega since April 18, including journalist Angel Gahona, shot and killed during the first demonstrations.