La Prensa

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Date: 1980

Region: Central America and the Caribbean

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: La Prensa

Confronting Bodies: Press and Information Chief of the Government Junta

Dates of Action: October 1980

Location: Nicaragua

Description of Artwork: At the end of September 1980 there were strikes, unrest and demonstrations against the government in the Atlantic region of Bluefields, Nicaragua. The Press and Information Chief of the Government Junta told two employees of the newspaper, "La Prensa," that they could not report any of the events occurring in Bluefields. The employees chose to continue reporting on the incident. The Junta then forbade the publication of any of information regarding the Bluefields incident, stating that "the revolutionary laws will be applied rigorously and to their full extent against anyone who encourages and/or incites civil disobedience and defiance of the authorities... "

The Incident: As a result, the government prohibited "the publication of information on counter-revolutionary acts, disorder, attacks on authorities, uprisings, strikes, interruption of public services, take-overs of land, farms and estates, etc." It is feared that the "etc." gives the government too much leeway and may lead to more serious abuses of the law in the future.

Results of Incident: In 1986, La Prensa was banned for receiving money from the U.S. and for featuring a cover photo of President Ronald Reagan giving a victory salute after Congress voted to give $100 million to Contra aid. La Prensa has since reopened.

Source: Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission of Human Rights