Catholic Church is still under siege and massive media closures persist.

After 15 days in captivity in the Episcopal Curia of Matagalpa (north), where he was surrounded and threatened by the police, Bishop Rolando Álvarez was transferred to Managua and placed under "home custody" (casa por cárcel), while the six priests and two seminarians accompanying him were taken to the El Chipote police prison to be investigated.


The government announced that it is investigating Bishop Álvarez for allegedly "inciting hatred" and "organizing violent groups" after he confronted police with a crucifix in his hands in early August. It is feared that he could be imprisoned or forced into exile, while Pope Francis, in a brief and not very forceful message, called for "dialogue and understanding" between the parties. So far, the regime has shown no willingness to do so.


As part of its strategy of silencing critical voices in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega's administration went ahead with the closure of independent media:


Radio Darío, from León - closed on 12 August.

The emblematic Radio Darío, a radio station founded in 1949 in the department of León (west) was closed by the government on 12 August 2022. During the 2018 protests, the station denounced violent state repression against civilian protesters and suffered threats, police harassment, and an arson attack by Sandinista activists that destroyed part of its facilities.


"Neither shutting down equipment nor arbitrarily withdrawing our license will silence us or the truth. After 73 years, Radio Darío is and will be a voice for justice, democracy, and citizens' rights. Far from intimidating us, their actions strengthen us," declared its director and owner, Aníbal Toruño, after announcing that they will continue to work through social networks.


NGTV Canal 3 de Nueva Guinea - license was withdrawn on 10 August.

Two days earlier, on 10 August, the government withdrew the operating license of NGTV Canal 3 de Nueva Guinea, a television station with a presence in the southern Caribbean region of Nicaragua. As in the other cases, the Telecommunications Institute cited technical arguments.


The channel's management announced that they will continue to exercise their right to information through social networks.


Radio San Carlos - ceased broadcasting on 16 August by government order.

The popular San Carlos radio station, which broadcast in the southern department of Río San Juan, ceased transmissions by government order on 16 August. The station broadcast Catholic church religious themes and was run by former Liberal mayor Silvio Pilarte, who was forced into exile after receiving threats from government activists.


Noticiero La Voz de Rivas - sudden cessation on 18 August.

On 18 August, it was announced that the news program La Voz de Rivas, a popular program on Radio Rumbos, which had been broadcasting for 29 years in the southern Nicaraguan department of Rivas, suddenly ceased broadcasting.

"For the moment, the radio station's management is keeping quiet about the cancellation of this program, and all that is known is that the order came from Managua", was the media outlet's terse explanation.


Voces del Sur: exodus of journalists continues.

In its report for July 2022, the observatory Voces del Sur documented 71 new cases of press freedom violations, 66 of these against media outlets (93 percent).

In that month alone, another 17 Nicaraguan journalists were forced into exile, most of them workers of the closed newspaper La Prensa, which on 13 August marked its first year of closure and police occupation. At least 12 more journalists were internally displaced in order to save their lives.


Fear of total confiscation of the newspaper La Prensa.

On 22 August, after 374 days under police occupation, the management of the daily La Prensa denounced that government operators are carrying out "construction work" inside the building, from which they have removed equipment and machinery for an unknown destination.


La Prensa, Nicaragua's oldest daily newspaper, denounced a de facto confiscation of its building, machinery, and equipment, all valued at some 10 million dollars. This is an arbitrary and illegal act, as article 44 of the current Constitution guarantees respect for private property and expressly prohibits confiscations.


Translation, Alicia Quiñones and Lucina Kathmann.

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