Top journalist Carlos Chamorro flees Nicaragua, cites raids

Nicaraguan journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, who rents an office at the building of the NGO Center of Investigation on Communication (CINCO), speaks to the press to denounce damages during a police raid in Managua on December 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Top journalist Carlos Chamorro flees Nicaragua, cites raids

  • Thousands have fled the country in self-imposed exile, including more than 50 journalists, Chamorro says

MEXICO CITY: More than a month after Nicaraguan police raided and occupied his news outlets’ offices, prominent journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro has fled to Costa Rica.
Chamorro announced in a video posted Monday on Facebook that he made “the painful decision to go into exile to ensure my freedom and physical safety, and above all to carry on independent journalism from Costa Rica.”
Chamorro runs the online news site Confidencial as well as the television programs “Tonight” and “This Week.” In mid-December, police swept into their offices and carried away documents, computers and other equipment.
When Chamorro and members of his staff went to the police to demand documentation justifying the raid they were violently pushed away by riot police.
President Daniel Ortega’s government has moved in recent weeks against remaining independent voices of dissent in the media and non-governmental organizations.
At least 325 people have been killed in the suppression of anti-government protests that began last April.
Thousands have fled the country in self-imposed exile, including more than 50 journalists, Chamorro says. In April, journalist Angel Gahona was killed while reporting live via Facebook on protests in the southeastern city of Bluefields.
Last Friday, the newspaper La Prensa ran a blank front page bearing only the question: “Have you imagined living without information?” The government has been holding up its supplies of newsprint and ink, forcing the paper to reduce its page count and take other steps to save resources.
In a column published on Confidencial’s website Sunday, Chamorro said he had exhausted his legal options in Nicaragua and now would have to continue doing journalism from Costa Rica. He said threats and criminalization of his work had only intensified.
Chamorro demanded the release of political prisoners, including fellow journalists Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda Ubau of 100% Noticias, who were arrested in December.
After the Sandinistas overthrew the dictator Anastasio Somoza, Chamorro ran their newspaper, La Barricada, for years. His mother, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, was with the Sandinistas when they took power in 1979, but she ran against Ortega for the presidency and won in 1990.


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

Updated 16 February 2019
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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

  • New office will be hub for Asian operation of paper and builds on relationship with community and its digital generation
  • Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has officially inaugurated Arab News Pakistan bureau in the country’s capital.

Chaudhry was the chief guest at the occasion and several prominent Pakistani media personalities and Arab News staff also attended the launch ceremony.

Standing side by side with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in Pakistan as part of the media delegation accompanying the royal visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, Chaudhry cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the office.

“I am very happy for two reasons: The perception was building that the newspapers were not coming (to Pakistan), so once an international publication like Arab News (has come here) it certainly gives us a huge boost.”

Chaudhry described how the relationship between the nations was becoming stronger, particularly with the growth of Pakistan’s voice in the Middle East.

‘Secondly, I think this is an era where Pakistan is playing a very important role in the Middle East and to have such a major Middle Eastern publication coming to Pakistan itself shows the kind of importance Pakistan has of the Middle East and vice versa, we are very happy to have you here.’

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas thanked the Pakistani information minister for his presence at the inauguration and for the efforts of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to help facilitate the newspaper’s operations in Islamabad. 

“The inauguration of our Islamabad bureau a year after the launch of our local digital edition is an indicator of our commitment to Pakistan and our determination to help create a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Abbas. 

“Ever since its establishment in 1975, Arab News has had a special relationship with the massive and incredibly loyal Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. Today we inaugurate this bureau in Islamabad to ensure a continued connection with the community and establish a relationship with a new more digital and highly connected generation,” he added. 

Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani said that the new office would be a hub not only for the Arab News Pakistan edition but also for the entire Asian operation of the paper. “We currently have reporters across Pakistan as well as nine other Asian countries and with the help, hard work and dedication of our team at the Islamabad bureau we hope not only to better manage our operation but to grow further in Asia as well.” 

Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans. The project is the first of many new international editions planned by the Riyadh-based newspaper. 

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).