MEXICO CITY — A New York Occasions journalist was denied entry into Nicaragua on Thursday amid a nationwide crackdown towards the media and civil society within the Central American nation.

Anatoly Kurmanaev, who lately joined the Occasions’s Mexico Metropolis bureau after years protecting Venezuela, had his ticket to Managua canceled by the airline he was touring on hours earlier than the flight was set to take off, after Nicaraguan authorities refused to grant him entry. Mr. Kurmanaev had met all of Nicaragua’s authorized and well being necessities for entry.

“That is an instance of more and more frequent challenges journalists are dealing with across the globe for the function they play in making certain a free and knowledgeable society,” mentioned Michael Slackman, the Occasions’s assistant managing editor for worldwide. “Efforts to silence journalists must be of concern to everybody.”

The denial of Mr. Kurmanaev’s entry to Nicaragua seems to be an escalation of presidency assaults on unbiased media amid a crackdown by President Daniel Ortega, who returned to energy in 2007 after main Nicaragua’s revolutionary authorities from 1979 to 1990.

Greater than a dozen opposition politicians, enterprise executives and civil society leaders within the nation have been detained in latest weeks forward of basic elections on Nov. 7, by which Mr. Ortega is looking for his fourth presidential time period.

On Sunday, the federal government added 13 Nicaraguan information retailers, together with the nation’s largest publications, to a felony investigation concentrating on opposition leaders for alleged cash laundering, treason and “seditious conspiracy.”

Greater than 20 journalists have been questioned by prosecutors in latest weeks in connection to the case. Human rights activists and journalists mentioned the investigation is an try and eradicate unbiased information protection within the nation.

No less than one of many journalists questioned, María Lilly Delgado, a correspondent for the U.S.-based Univision community, was informed by prosecutors that she was beneath investigation, though the authorities didn’t specify the costs.

The cash laundering investigation facilities on the opposition chief Cristiana Chamorro, who till lately was the top of an area freedom of expression group that obtained U.S. funding. Ms. Chamorro was positioned beneath home arrest this month, simply hours after asserting plans to run towards Mr. Ortega within the coming election.

The latest onslaught towards freedom of expression seems to surpass the federal government’s earlier efforts at suppression in 2018, when the police brutally put down giant protests towards Mr. Ortega’s rule. On the time, most worldwide information media, together with The Occasions, had been allowed entry to the nation to cowl the unrest.

In October, the federal government handed a “Cybercrimes Legislation,” which permits the authorities to jail any journalist for publishing what they contemplate “pretend information.” Three Nicaraguan journalists have been threatened with the regulation since, and among the nation’s journalists have gone into hiding.

Media freedom teams have develop into more and more involved over the crackdown, which threatens to show what had already been one of many area’s most restrictive media environments into an info darkish zone on the peak of a political disaster.

“The federal government of Daniel Ortega has resorted to more and more overt techniques to silence important voices,” mentioned Natalie Southwick, program coordinator for Central and South America and the Caribbean on the Committee to Shield Journalists. “Denying entry to worldwide reporters reveals that Nicaraguan authorities are doubling down on their efforts to restrict entry to info and management the narrative.”

This week, the clampdown on the opposition reached the best echelons of Nicaragua’s as soon as pro-government enterprise elite. A prime banker and former ally of Mr. Ortega was arrested on Tuesday, and banking authorities on Thursday froze the accounts of 13 outstanding enterprise executives.

“There may be an ongoing political crackdown in Nicaragua of a form that must be unthinkable on this hemisphere,” Bradley A. Freden, the U.S. envoy to the Group of American States, mentioned in remarks following the group’s passage of a decision condemning the repression on Tuesday.

The federal government didn’t present a purpose for denying Mr. Kurmanaev entry. After his ticket was canceled, he reached out to Rosario Murillo, the spouse of Mr. Ortega and a authorities spokeswoman, asking that he be allowed in. She responded by saying solely, “Thanks to your curiosity” in an e mail.

Intimidation of journalists in Nicaragua comes as governments world wide are more and more emboldened of their makes an attempt to stifle dissent and clamp down on freedom of speech.

On Thursday, the police in Hong Kong arrested 5 executives of a pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Each day. On Wednesday, a contract reporter working for The Occasions was launched from a Zimbabwe jail, three weeks after his arrest on prices of improperly serving to two Occasions journalists report within the nation.

Final month, Belarus arrested a dissident journalist after forcing down a Ryanair flight within the nation’s airspace. In March 2020, China mentioned it could expel American journalists working for The Occasions, The Wall Avenue Journal and The Washington Publish.

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