The government of Nicaragua took DailyExpertNews en Español off the air shortly after 10 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
It did not explain why it removed DailyExpertNews’s Spanish-language service and did not respond to DailyExpertNews’s request for comment. The cable operators carrying DailyExpertNews en Español in the country also did not respond.
“Today, the government of Nicaragua withdrew our television signal and denied Nicaraguans news and information from our television network, which they have relied on for 25 years,” the US-based agency said in a statement.
Nicaragua’s government led by President Daniel Ortega’s fifth term in office has dealt sharply with both the press and critics over the past two years.
Many Nicaraguan journalists have been forced into exile, and there are still “virtually no independent media in the country,” according to the press freedom group Reporters without Borders.
“DailyExpertNews en Español was the only remaining critique from President Daniel Ortega available to Nicaraguans,” Reuters reported Thursday.
In recent months, DailyExpertNews en Español has reported on other examples of repression by Ortega’s government, including the detention of a Catholic bishop who was under investigation for “destabilizing and provocative” activities after objecting to the closure of seven Catholic radio stations. who had ties with the bishop in the country.
Nicaraguans can continue to find Spanish-language news on their website, the agency said.
“DailyExpertNews stands behind our network’s coverage and commitment to truth and transparency,” it said.
“At DailyExpertNews en Español, we believe in the crucial role press freedom plays in a healthy democracy.”
In March of this year, Nicaragua Ambassador to the Organization of American States Arturo McFields labeled his country’s government a “dictatorship,” citing, among other things, the repression of independent reporting and the incarceration of dissidents and political rivals.
“As of 2018, Nicaragua is the only country in Central America that has no printed newspapers. There is no freedom to publish a simple tweet, [or posting] a simple comment on social media,” he said.
“There are no human rights organizations… They have all been shut down, expelled or blinded. There are no independent political parties, there are no credible elections, no separation of powers,” he continued.
Nicaraguan state media later posted a letter on Twitter stating that McFields does not represent Ortega’s government.