Nicaragua Government and Media Profile

Nicaragua Political Orientation

Nicaragua - Government and Media - Left Bias - Socialist - AuthoritarianNicaragua Government and Media Country Profile


Government Type: Presidential Republic
Leader: President Daniel Ortega
Political Party: The Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN)
Political Position: Left

Press Freedom

MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 28.05 – Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Nicaragua 158/180

According to Reporters without Borders, media freedom has deteriorated ever since President Ortega’s election. Freedom House reports that” President Ortega has consolidated all branches of government and most public institutions and the country’s media under his party’s control.” As the Nicaraguan government crackdown continues, police often raid independent media offices and detain journalists.

Media Ownership and Government Analysis

In Nicaragua, radio and TV are the prominent players in the news media.

The Nicaraguan Government, directly and indirectly, controls the majority of news outlets in the country. For example, Juan Ortega is the son of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega; he manages Difuso Comunicaciones S.A. advertising company, which produces radio and TV ad campaigns for the Government and the ruling party Sandinista National Liberation Front. The U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned the company claiming it was spreading regime propaganda.

According to Reuters, The Ortega family controls ownership of Canal 8 and radio broadcaster Radio Ya. Furthermore, Reuters reports the Ortega children own Canal 4, Canal 13, and Canal 22. The Ortegas also control Canal 6, Radio Nicaragua, and the online El 19 Digital through state ownership. 

In 2020, Nicaragua’s National Assembly passed a law known as the “foreign agents law.” This law gives the Ortega Government more power to control media and any organization receiving overseas funding. The Nicaraguan Government often uses this pretext to intimidate journalists; for example, in 2021, Nicaraguan police raided “La Prensa” and detained its publisher Juan Lorenzo Holmann. La Prensa is critical of Ortega’s Government. Later, La Prensa was forced to end its print edition.

The other national daily is El Nuevo Diario, owned by Promerica, which shut it down in 2019 due to economic crisis and pressures from the Government. Both La Prensa and El Nuevo Diario are critical of the Government. 

In summary, the Ortega government either directly or indirectly controls media by jailing journalists or by using a law shutting down the critical media outlets. As a result of harsh government consequences, Nicaragua has very little press freedom due to self-censorship.

Country Rating Methodology

Last Updated on May 13, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check

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