Nicaraguan authorities raid, shut down critical TV station


Nicaraguan authorities have raided the offices of a critical television station and shut it down, a week after raiding the offices of non-governmental groups and a newspaper.

Lucia Pineda, press director for the 100% Noticias station, sent WhatsApp messages to other journalists saying that station director Miguel Mora was detained during the Saturday night raid. Backers of President Daniel Ortega had filed criminal complaints accusing Mora of generating hate and during a wave of anti-government protests that broke out in April.

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Pineda also said police were taking away control equipment from the station, which went off the air. Other journalists said they were unable to contact her after those messages.

The national broadcast regulator also issued a statement banning cable operators from carrying the station.

Police on Dec. 14 raided four non-governmental groups, including the Nicaragua Center for Human Rights, in addition to the newspaper Confidencial. Their offices were seized. The 100% Noticias station also had been forced off the air for several days in April, but was allowed to return.

Seventy-three-year-old President Daniel Ortega has been using a hard hand against protests that erupted in April, which initially denounced a social security cut but later turned into demands for his resignation.

At least 325 people have been killed since protests erupted, and the human rights center said before it was raided that some 565 people have been jailed. Thousands have fled the country in self-imposed exile.

Ortega says the protests are part of a coup plan to topple him.