Internet freedom continued to decline in Nicaragua amid a broader crackdown on dissent that has been ongoing since the country’s 2018 antigovernment protests. During the coverage period, the government continued to use the 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law to arrest and imprison dissidents for their critical online speech, and put in place new provisions that have been used to strip Nicaraguan citizenship from those the authorities deem “traitors to the homeland.” Opposition figures, dissenting voices, and independent journalists have been increasingly forced to self-censor or opt for anonymity when expressing themselves online. While digital media remains one of the few spaces for independent journalism in Nicaragua, nearly all independent online outlets must operate from exile due to state repression.
The election of Daniel Ortega, leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), as president in 2006 began a period of democratic deterioration marked by the consolidation of all branches of government under his party’s control, the limitation of fundamental freedoms, and unchecked corruption. In 2018, state forces and informally affiliated armed groups responded to a mass antigovernment protest movement with violence and repression. The rule of law collapsed as the authorities moved to put down the movement, with rights monitors reporting the deaths of at least 325 people, extrajudicial detentions, disappearances, and torture. Arbitrary arrests and detentions have since continued, government opponents report surveillance and monitoring, and talks between the regime and the opposition have foundered.
- Two private internet service providers (ISPs), Claro and Tigo, continued to dominate the telecommunications market under a de facto duopoly. However, the November 2022 announcement by Tecomunica—which is partially state-owned by the National Electricity Transmission Company (ENATREL)—that it would provide fixed-line internet services nationwide raised speculation that the Ortega regime intends to exert greater control over the market (see A4 and A5).
- Although digital activists continued to mobilize online campaigns during the coverage period, particularly to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 2018 protests and to call attention to political prisoners in the country, the near-complete closure of the civic space in Nicaragua has increased the potential risks of engaging in online activism for users inside the country (see B8).
- Authorities continued to impose severe criminal penalties in connection with users’ online activities, including a prison sentence of more than 26 years handed to Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, in part for allegedly spreading false news online. Additionally, more than 300 people—including several digital journalists—were stripped of their Nicaraguan citizenship in February 2023 under new provisions that allow the government to revoke the citizenship of those it deems “traitors of the homeland” (see C2 and C3).
- A December 2022 report by the US–based Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) indicated that Nicaraguan authorities have deployed Russian government–linked System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM-3) surveillance technology, which is capable of monitoring emails, social media posts, and other sensitive activities (see C5).
|Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections?||3.003 6.006|
Following sustained progress in recent years, more than half of Nicaragua’s population now has access to the internet. According to unofficial statistics from DataReportal, 4 million people in the country had internet access as of early 2023.1 Official government statistics from the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (TELCOR) reveal that in 2022, there were approximately 4.78 million total internet connections, of which 4.45 million were mobile and 337,059 were fixed-line connections.2 The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimated that 57 percent of the population used the internet in 2021.3
According to a 2017 report by the Nicaraguan Chamber of Internet and Telecommunications (CANITEL), there has been consistent investment in the expansion of networks and services since 2004, contributing to the installation of more than 13,000 kilometers of fiber-optic and microwave links nationwide.4 In recent years, growth in access has been largely driven by an increase in mobile internet connections; according to statistics from TELCOR, 3.27 million new mobile connections were added between 2019 and 2022.5
According to Speedtest Global Index, Nicaragua ranked 117th out of 140 countries surveyed for mobile broadband speeds and 89th out of 181 countries surveyed for fixed-line broadband speeds in May 2023.6 Nicaragua’s median mobile data download and upload speeds were 17.19 megabits per second (Mbps) and 10.67 Mbps, respectively. Median fixed broadband download and upload speeds stood at 48.64 Mbps and 18.18 Mbps, respectively.7
Frequent power outages, caused by poor infrastructure and natural disasters, pose an ongoing threat to connectivity. A failure in the Central American electrical system in July 2021 caused a total blackout in Nicaragua that lasted five hours,8 for instance, with similar blackouts reported in June,9 August,10 and November of that year.11 In November 2020, Nicaragua was devastated by Hurricane Iota; TELCOR disrupted communications systems that it managed, including internet services, due to breakdowns in the power supply, destruction of fiber-optic lines, and wind damage to transmission towers.12 Again in October 2022, Hurricane Julia temporarily left Nicaragua’s Caribbean region without power and telecommunications due to the destruction of electric and fiber-optic lines, leading authorities to cut power to the region during the disaster, though the extent of such disruptions is unclear.13
In November 2022, TELCOR issued an administrative agreement to reserve the 3300-3400–megahertz (MHz), 3400-3600 MHz, and 3600-3700 MHz frequency bands for the development of the country’s fifth-generation (5G) network, which is not yet available in Nicaragua.14 Since 2021, mobile service providers Claro and Tigo have offered 4.5G long-term evolution (LTE) service in some coverage areas of the country.15
- 1Simon Kemp, “Digital 2023: Nicaragua,” Data Reportal, February 13, 2023, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2023-nicaragua.
- 2TELCOR, “Estadísticas [Statistics],” accessed March 28, 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230328091927/https://telcor.gob.ni/acceso….
- 3ITU, “Digital Development Dashboard: Nicaragua,” accessed September 2023, https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Dashboards/Pages/Digital-Develo….
- 4“Feria Expointernet 2017 [Expointernet Holiday 2017],” Estadisticas Sobre el Sector de Internet y Telecomunicaciones en Nicaragua, May 17, 2017, https://canitel.org.ni/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Presentacion-Indicado….
- 5TELCOR, “Estadísticas [Statistics],” accessed March 28, 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230328091927/https://telcor.gob.ni/acceso….
- 6Speedtest Global Index, “Median Country Speeds May 2023,” Ookla, accessed June 19, 2023, https://web.archive.org/web/20230619120619/https://www.speedtest.net/gl….
- 7Speedtest Global Index, “Nicaragua Median Country Speeds July 2023,” Ookla, accessed September 2023, https://www.speedtest.net/global-index/nicaragua.
- 8“Economic cost of Central America power outage seen at $18 mln,” Reuters, July 8, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/economic-cost-central-america-po…
- 9“Fallo provoca un apagón total en Nicaragua y parcial en Centroamérica [Failure causes a total blackout in Nicaragua and a partial blackout in Central America],” Swiss Info, June 9, 2021, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/nicaragua-apag%C3%B3n_fallo-provoca-un-apa…
- 10“Al menos 44 municipios de Nicaragua sufren apagones de hasta siete horas [At least 44 municipalities suffer "blackouts" of up to seven hours],” El Confidencial, August 27, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/nacion/al-menos-44-municipios-sufren-ap….
- 11“Un fallo en la red eléctrica causa un apagón en Nicaragua [A failure in the electrical network causes a blackout in Nicaragua],” El Periódico de la Energía, November 27, 2021, https://elperiodicodelaenergia.com/un-fallo-en-la-red-electrica-causa-u…
- 12“Sin energía ni internet, huracán lota deja a miles incomunicados en Nicaragua [Without power or internet, hurricane lota leaves thousands incommunicado in Nicaragua],” Nicaragua Investigates, November 17, 2020, https://nicaraguainvestiga.com/nacion/40711-huracan-iota-energia-intene….
- 13“Julia leaves the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua cut off,” Swissinfo.ch, October 9, 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/huracanes-atl%C3%A1ntico_julia-deja-incomu….
- 14“Acuerdo Referido a Bandas de Frecuencia [Agreement Referring to Frequency Bands],” Administrative Agreement No. 002-2022, TELCOR, November 24, 2022, https://www.leybook.com/doc/30463.
- 15“Por qué el régimen estaría interesado en acceder a mejor tecnología de telecomunicaciones [Why the regime would be interested in accessing better telecommunications technology],” DPL News, December 9, 2022, https://dplnews.com/nicaragua-por-que-el-regimen-estaria-interesado-en-….
|Is access to the internet prohibitively expensive or beyond the reach of certain segments of the population for geographical, social, or other reasons?||0.000 3.003|
Access to the internet is expensive compared to the minimum wage, and there are large geographical disparities.
As of March 2023, Nicaragua’s minimum wage ranged from 5,196.34 córdobas ($142) to 11,628.95 córdobas ($317) per month, depending on the sector.1 Though official statistics showed that unemployment had fallen to 2.6 percent by December 2022, 38.3 percent of the population remained underemployed or informally employed,2 often earning between 25 and 50 percent of minimum wage.3
Internet service in Nicaragua remains financially inaccessible for many, though it has become somewhat more affordable in recent years. The average monthly cost of fixed-line broadband service remained among the lowest in Central America. Analysis from UK–based Cable found that monthly fixed-line broadband service in the country cost an average of $36.99 in 2023, constituting between 12 and 26 percent of the average monthly salary of someone making minimum wage.4 The least expensive mobile data plans in Central America can also be found in Nicaragua, where as of 2022, one gigabyte (GB) of data costs $0.70 on average.5
The cost of devices tends to be high, creating an additional barrier to access beyond the cost of a monthly service plan. According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet, a basic smartphone cost nearly 34 percent of the average Nicaraguan monthly income in 2020.6
Connectivity in rural areas is low, partly because it is not profitable for service providers to develop infrastructure there; between 71 and 89 percent of the population living in these areas does not have internet access.7 Women in rural areas are even less connected, as women in general face a disparity in access to technologies such as mobile phones.8 However, the government has made efforts to improve rural connectivity in recent years, through initiatives such as the Communications Infrastructure Program for the Caribbean Region (CARCIP).9
Little information is available about Indigenous peoples’ internet access, though civil society organizations have created some initiatives to connect traditionally Indigenous communities.10
In 2015, the Ortega regime promoted a project aimed at establishing Wi-Fi access points in municipal parks throughout the country.11 The project was proposed by ENATREL and managed by each municipality.12
In November 2021, the government reported that 93 of the country’s 153 municipalities had broadband coverage, in part due to efforts launched under the Broadband Program—a plan to expand broadband coverage nationwide—first presented by the government in 2016.13 In February 2023, TELCOR director Nahima Díaz stated that 2,880 kilometers of fiber-optic cables had been installed under the program.14
- 1“Nicaragua: Salario Mínimo para el año 2023 [Nicaragua: Minimum Wage for 2023],” EY Central America, February 27, 2023, https://www.ey.com/es_cr/tax/tax-alerts/nicaragua-salario-minimo-para-e….
- 2“Nicaragua cerró 2022 con una tasa de desempleo del 2,6 % [Nicaragua closed 2022 with an unemployment rate of 2.6%],” swissinfo.ch, January 31, 2023, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/nicaragua-empleo_nicaragua-cerr%C3%B3-2022….
- 3“Gobierno finalmente revela estadísticas de desempleo en Nicaragua [Government finally reveals unemployment statistics in Nicaragua],” Nicaragua Investigates, January 22, 2021, https://nicaraguainvestiga.com/economia/44295-encuesta-inide-2020-aumen….
- 4“Broadband: Worldwide Price Comparison,” Cable, Accessed April 2023, https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/pricing/worldwide-comparison/.
- 5“Mobile: Worldwide Price Comparison,” Cable, Accessed April 2023, https://www.cable.co.uk/mobiles/worldwide-data-pricing/.
- 6Alliance for Affordable Internet, “From luxury to lifeline: Reducing the cost of mobile devices to reach universal internet access,” Web Foundation, August 6, 2020, https://a4ai.org/report/from-luxury-to-lifeline-reducing-the-cost-of-mo…
- 7Sandra Ziegler et al., “Conectividad rural en América Latina y el Caribe: un puente al desarrollo sostenible en tiempos de pandemia [Rural connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean: a bridge to sustainable development in times of pandemic],” Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura, 2020, https://repositorio.iica.int/handle/11324/12896.
- 8Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, “Digital gender inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean,” 2020, https://repositorio.iica.int/handle/11324/12489.
- 9Dinorah Navarro, “Nicaragua ha logrado una buena cobertura de los servicios de telecomunicaciones: Telcor [Nicaragua has achieved good coverage of telecommunication services: Telcor],” DPL News, February 20, 2023, https://dplnews.com/nicaragua-ha-logrado-una-buena-cobertura-de-los-ser….
- 10Télécoms Sans Frontières, “Bridging the digital divide in Nicaragua’s remote regions,” January 1, 2015, https://www.tsfi.org/en/our-missions/bridging-the-digital-divide/bridgi…;
- 11Nicolas Larocca, “Nicaragua: el Gobierno ofrece wifi gratis en 90 lugares en diferentes municipios del país [Nicaragua: the Government offers free Wi-Fi in 90 places in different municipalities of the country],” Tele Semana, 2016, https://www.telesemana.com/blog/2016/09/05/nicaragua-el-gobierno-ofrece….
- 12Nicolas Larocca, “Nicaragua: el Gobierno ofrece wifi gratis en 90 lugares en diferentes municipios del país [Nicaragua: the Government offers free Wi-Fi in 90 places in different municipalities of the country],” Tele Semana, 2016, https://www.telesemana.com/blog/2016/09/05/nicaragua-el-gobierno-ofrece…; “Facultad Regional Multidisciplinaria, FAREM-Estelí [Regional Multidisciplinary Faculty, FAREM-Estelí],” Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, 2017, https://repositorio.unan.edu.ni/9478/1/18652.pdf.
- 13Enatrel, “Plan De Buen Gobierno 2016 [Good Governance Plan 2016],” 2016, https://www.enatrel.gob.ni/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/PLAN-DE-BUEN-GOBI…; “Hacía la transformación digital en Centroamérica, casos de éxito en Nicaragua [Towards the digital transformation of Central America, success stories in Nicaragua],” El 19 Digital, November 19, 2021, https://www.el19digital.com/articulos/ver/titulo:122992-hacia-la-transf…
- 14Dinorah Navarro, “Nicaragua ha logrado una buena cobertura de los servicios de telecomunicaciones: Telcor [Nicaragua has achieved good coverage of telecommunication services: Telcor],” DPL News, February 20, 2023, https://dplnews.com/nicaragua-ha-logrado-una-buena-cobertura-de-los-ser….
|Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity?||5.005 6.006|
There have been a few instances in which the government restricted internet access, though none were reported during the coverage period. The most recent was in 2018, in the context of massive antigovernment protests.1 Internet disruptions occurred on a regional basis that year, including in the departments of Jinotega, Matagalpa, León, and Masaya, and lasted around a day. The outages coincided with attacks against civilians by security forces and allied armed groups. Mobile service was also disrupted,2 and the government blocked Wi-Fi signals in public parks where protesters had connected their devices to report on the demonstrations.3
In December 2020, the Special Cybercrimes Law came into effect (see C2).4 According to the Nicaraguan Human Rights Center (CENIDH), the law authorizes TELCOR and the Foreign Ministry to block websites, networks, applications, and other online and communications services.5
In terms of international connectivity, the country is linked to global internet traffic by the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS) submarine cable.6
- 1Access Now, “Targeted, Cut Off and Left in the Dark,” 2019, https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2020/02/KeepItOn-2019-repo….
- 2Access Now, “The state of internet shutdowns around the world: The 2018 #keepiton report,” July 2019, https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2019/07/KeepItOn-2018-Repo….
- 3“Ellas bloquean wifi en los parques de nicaragua [They block WiFi in the parks of Nicaragua,” El Urbano, April 24, 2018, https://elurbano.news/hemeroteca/bloquean-wifi-en-los-parques-de-nicara…;"Gobierno de Nicaragua mantiene bloqueo de Internet en parques públicos,” La Prensa, May 6, 2018, https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2018/05/06/nacionales/2414494-gobierno-mant….
- 4“Ciberdelitos Actos Especials [Special Act Cybercrimes],” Legislacion Asemblea, October 27, 2020, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/($All)/803E7C7FBCF44D77…; “Organizaciones sociales advierten sobre iniciativa de ciberdelito en Nicaragua: incita a la censura y criminaliza el uso de tecnologías [Social organizations warn about cybercrime initiative in Nicaragua: incites censorship and criminalizes the use of technologies],” Observacom, October 6, 2020, https://www.observacom.org/organizaciones-sociales-advierten-sobre-inic…; Silvia Sánchez, “Nicaragua y sus Reglamentos sobre Delincuencia Cibernética [Nicaragua and its cybercrime regulations],” Ipandetec, February 10, 2021, https://www.ipandetec.org/2021/02/10/ciberdelito-nicaragua/.
- 5“Ortega’s ‘Gag Law’ Takes Effect in Nicaragua,” Confidencial, January 1, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortegas-gag-law-takes-effect-in….
- 6“Nicaragua,” Submarine Cable Map, Accessed July 2021, https://www.submarinecablemap.com/#/country/nicaragua.
|Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers?||3.003 6.006|
Nicaragua's General Telecommunications Law stipulates the rules and procedures to be followed in the telecommunications sector, classifying the services and describing the types of permits or concessions that must be obtained for operation. It also states that there is free competition, ostensibly allowing any interested company to take the steps to establish itself in the country. There are at least three mobile service providers,1 in addition to others that provide internet service for homes and businesses.2 However, the market is led in practice by two providers, Claro and Tigo: Claro, owned by the Mexican telecommunications giant América Móvil, dominates both the fixed and mobile broadband sectors, while Tigo, held by Luxembourg-based Millicom, has captured around one-third of the mobile market and 10 percent of the fixed-line market.3
Licenses or concessions to provide internet service may only be granted to Nicaraguan individuals or legal entities, and in the case of companies, at least 51 percent of shares must be held by Nicaraguan nationals. The provider is also required to sign an agreement with each customer that is fair to both parties.4
Reports indicate that the presidential family has close ties to a number of shareholders in Nicaragua’s telecommunications sector, and concerns have been raised recently that the regime could seek to further influence the market. Tecomunica, which is owned by both the state-held ENATREL and the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), announced in November 2022 that it would provide internet services across Nicaragua, shortly after Ortega expressed a desire to raise taxes on existing service providers.5 Previously, Tecomunica had only taken a role in creating and maintaining Wi-Fi networks in public spaces. Some consider the timing of the announcement and Ortega’s public proposal of increasing telecom taxes to be odd, viewing it as an attempt by the regime to exercise greater control over the market.6
A report published by Confidencial in February 2022 found that shareholders in companies that partially comprise two ISPs—CooTel and Yota—have links to the presidential family. For example, Ortega-linked lawyer José María Enríquez Moncada holds 30 percent of shares in Inversiones Nicaragüenses de Telecomunicaciones, S.A., which operates the CooTel ISP alongside Chinese company Xinwei Telecom. Though some have expressed concern that this would also allow the family to exert control over the market, their potential impact has been limited by the relatively small market share held by the companies involved.7
- 1Cristina Morales, “Quién defiende tus datos? [Who defends your data],” Ipandetec, 2020, https://www.ipandetec.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/QDTD-nicaragua-202….
- 2“Socios,” Canitel, accessed February 27, 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20210227063014/https://canitel.org.ni/socio…
- 3“Nicaragua: Telecoms Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses,” BuddeComm, April 2021, https://www.budde.com.au/Research/Nicaragua-Telecoms-Mobile-and-Broadba….
- 4Claudio Ansorena, “Competencia y regulación en las telecomunicaciones: el caso de Nicaragua [Competition and regulation in telecommunications: the case of Nicaragua],” Unidad de Comercio International e Industria, July 2008, https://www.cepal.org/sites/default/files/publication/files/4880/S08004…; “Ley General de Telecomunicaciones y Servicioes Postales [General Law of Telecommunications and Postal Services],” National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua, December 2019, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/9e314815a08d4a620625726….
- 5“Régimen Ortega Murillo entra al negocio de la televisión digital e internet con empresa Tecomunica [Ortega Murillo regime enters the digital television and internet business with Tecomunica company],” 100% Noticias, November 19, 2022, https://100noticias.com.ni/economia/119910-regimen-ortega-murillo-enatr….
- 6“Ortega va tras el negocio de las telecomunicaciones, días después de amenazar a empresas privadas [Ortega goes after the telecommunications business, days after threatening private companies],” Artículo 66, November 21, 2022, https://www.articulo66.com/2022/11/21/tecomunica-nueva-empresa-telecomu…; Ivan Olivares, “Amenaza contra empresas de telecomunicaciones apunta contra Claro y Tigo [Threat against telecommunications companies targets Claro and Tigo],” Confidencial, November 12, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/principal/amenaza-contra-empresas-de-telec….
- 7Octavio Enríquez, “La red de negocios privados de la familia Ortega Murillo: 22 empresas a costa del Estado [The private business network of the Ortega Murillo family: 22 companies at the expense of the State],” Confidencial, February 20, 2022, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/politica/la-red-de-negocios-privados-de….
|Do national regulatory bodies that oversee service providers and digital technology fail to operate in a free, fair, and independent manner?||0.000 4.004|
TELCOR is the main regulatory body for telecommunications providers.1 Legally, it is meant to operate as a decentralized entity with independent assets,2 but in reality, it fails to uphold principles of neutrality and independence. TELCOR is essentially a government institution, and it responds to government policies. The highest authority within the institute is appointed by the president, and according to a 2006 constitutional reform, all such appointments must be examined and approved by the National Assembly, though this has never occurred in practice.3
In May 2020, TELCOR amended a 2013 administrative agreement to require that telecommunications providers inform the body of their appointments for positions including information technology heads, financial managers, regulatory managers, and heads of security. Failure to do so can result in administrative or criminal sanctions.4
In November 2022, TELCOR issued an administrative agreement reserving certain frequencies on the radioelectric spectrum for the development and deployment of 5G technology in the country (see A1), suspending any new assignments or modifications to the use rights of these designated bands.5 The administrative agreement has raised speculation that TELCOR could provide preferential access to these 5G bands to Tecomunica, a telecommunications company partially owned by ENATREL (see A4).6
- 1“Ley General de Telecomunicaciones y Servicios Postales [General Law of Telecommunications and Postal Services],” Medios Latinos, Access July 2021, https://www.kas.de/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=68987a16-8661-7663-….
- 2“Ley Organica del Instituto Nicaraguense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos (Telcor) [Organic Law of the Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Postal Services (Telcor)],” Telcor Ente Regulador, Accessed July 2021, https://www.palermo.edu/cele/pdf/Regulaciones/NicaraguaLeyrganicaTelcor….
- 3Leonor Zuniga, “Mapping Digital Media: Nicaragua,” Open Society Foundations, March 2014, https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/publications/mapping-digital-med….
- 4Diego Silva, “Desde ahora el régimen de Daniel Ortega controlará las interconexiones y acceso, las instalaciones, operaciones de redes y aspectos jurídicos de las empresas de telecomunicaciones,” Despach 505, May 19, 2020, https://www.despacho505.com/regimen-amplia-control-sobre-operadores-de-….
- 5“Acuerdo Referido a Bandas de Frecuencia [Agreement Referring to Frequency Bands],” Administrative Agreement No. 002-2022, TELCOR, November 24, 2022, https://www.leybook.com/doc/30463.
- 6“Por qué el régimen estaría interesado en acceder a mejor tecnología de telecomunicaciones [Why the regime would be interested in accessing better telecommunications technology],” DPL News, December 9, 2022, https://dplnews.com/nicaragua-por-que-el-regimen-estaria-interesado-en-…; “Dictadura abre las puertas a tecnología 5G, tras amenaza a compañías telefónicas [Dictatorship opens the doors to 5G technology, after threatening telephone companies],” Confidencial, December 3, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/principal/dictadura-abre-las-puertas-a-tec….
|Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||6.006 6.006|
No evidence that the government or service providers block or filter content has been reported. Though the 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law allows TELCOR and the Foreign Ministry to block so-called dangerous websites, the government does not appear to have the capacity to implement and enforce such blocking.1
- 1“Ortega’s ‘Gag Law’ Takes Effect in Nicaragua,” Confidencial, January 1, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortegas-gag-law-takes-effect-in….
|Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||1.001 4.004|
The Nicaraguan government and its allies have used copyright laws, including the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), to secure the removal of content produced by independent media outlets.1 Because only the progovernment media sector—much of which is controlled by Ortega’s family and others linked to the regime—has access to events and interviews with state officials, independent outlets depend on images and recordings from these sources, which then lodge copyright complaints.2 For example, in March 2020, two YouTube accounts of the independent news broadcaster 100% Noticias—whose license was revoked in 2018—were shuttered after a progovernment outlet lodged complaints over their use of photos and video footage.3
More recently, in May 2022, the website of independent outlet Nicaragua Investiga was reportedly unavailable for several hours following an apparent copyright complaint from Banco de Producción S.A. (Banpro).4 Banpro allegedly objected to the use of its logo in photos published by the outlet as part of a profile of former Banpro executive Luis Rivas Anduray, who was arrested by the Ortega regime in June 2021.5
As part of the government’s broader online influence operation, state employees were found to have engaged in the coordinated mass reporting of content posted on Facebook by government critics in 2018 and 2019 in an apparent effort to get it removed (see B5). Meta found these efforts, which targeted media outlets, activists, and everyday users, to be largely unsuccessful.6
In recent years, police have also reportedly coerced government critics into deleting videos or photos that depict antigovernment protests from their devices.7
- 1Rodrigo Rodríguez, “La denuncia por copyright como método de censura en línea en Nicaragua [Copyright complaint as a method of online censorship in Nicaragua],” Access Now, December 2, 2020, https://www.accessnow.org/la-denuncia-por-copyright-como-metodo-de-cens….
- 2Alejandro Menjivar, “Warning: repressive regimes are using DMCA takedown demands to censor activists,” Access Now, October 22, 2020, https://www.accessnow.org/dmca-takedown-demands-censor-activists/.
- 3Dánae Vílchez, “YouTube censors independent Nicaraguan news outlets after copyright complaints from Ortega-owned media,” Committee to Protect Journalists, May 6, 2020, https://cpj.org/2020/05/youtube-censor-nicaragua-outlets-100-noticias-c….
- 4“Sitio web de Nicaragua Investiga fue restringido por varias horas [Nicaragua Investiga website was restricted for several hours],” Onda Local, May 21, 2022, https://ondalocalni.com/noticias/1665-web-nicaragua-investiga-restringi….
- 5Wilmer Benavides, “Nicaragua Investiga recupera su sitio web tras cinco horas de bloqueo [Nicaragua Investiga recovers its website after five hours of blocking],” May 21, 2022, https://www.articulo66.com/2022/05/21/nicaragua-investiga-pagina-web-at…; “Banker arrested as Nicaragua crackdown expands,” Associated Press, June 16, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/caribbean-nicaragua-arrests-business-b184533….
- 6“October 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report,” Meta, October 2021 (updated November 5, 2021), https://about.fb.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/October-2021-CIB-Report….
- 7“Critics Under Attack,” Human Rights Watch, June 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/06/22/critics-under-attack/harassment-a….
|Do restrictions on the internet and digital content lack transparency, proportionality to the stated aims, or an independent appeals process?||1.001 4.004|
Nicaragua lacks independent bodies that ensure oversight of content restriction processes. Authorities do not act transparently when it comes to the removal of online content.1 Under the 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law, decisions to block websites are to be made by TELCOR and the Foreign Ministry, both of which are effectively dominated by the presidency.2
For content removals that rely on the DMCA, a specific procedural framework is established in the US law itself, which is often invoked by Nicaraguan entities targeting material like YouTube videos (see B2).3 Journalists and activists have reported frustrations with social media companies providing vague justifications for removing their content and delays in recovering their accounts.4
In October 2022, Nicaragua’s National Assembly approved Law 1132, which establishes certain registration requirements for filmmakers and empowers the state’s National Cinematheque—a body originally created to promote and preserve films—to prohibit the creation and public distribution of noncompliant content.5 Critics have raised concerns that an overly broad interpretation of the law could be used to restrict content uploaded to TikTok or YouTube, particularly if it is deemed to violate the country’s so-called culture of peace, with few options available for an independent appeals process.6
- 1“Joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, on the Universal Periodic Review 33rd Session for Nicaragua,” October 2018, https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2018/10/UPR-Nicaragua-digi….
- 2“Ortega’s ‘Gag Law’ Takes Effect in Nicaragua,” Confidencial, January 1, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortegas-gag-law-takes-effect-in….
- 3Dánae Vílchez, “YouTube censors independent Nicaraguan news outlets after copyright complaints from Ortega-owned media,” Committee to Protect Journalists, May 6, 2020, https://cpj.org/2020/05/youtube-censor-nicaragua-outlets-100-noticias-c….
- 4Interviews with two journalists, one satirist, and one social media user known for their criticism of the state, conducted in June 2022.
- 5Law No. 1132 (2022), National Assembly of Nicaragua, https://www.leybook.com/doc/29961; Houston Castillo Vado, “Nicaragua aprueba reforma para controlar la producción de material audiovisual [Nicaragua approves reform to control the production of audiovisual material],” VOA, October 13, 2022, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/aprueban-en-nicaragua-una-reforma-para-c….
- 6Lorena Baires, “Régimen nicaragüense sanciona grabaciones audiovisuals [Nicaraguan regime sanctions audiovisual productions],” Diálogo Américas, December 7, 2022, https://dialogo-americas.com/es/articles/nicaraguan-regime-sanctions-au….
|Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship?||1.001 4.004|
Since early 2021, journalists, commentators, and ordinary users have experienced a climate of growing self-censorship that has continued to intensify amid heightening state repression of critical voices.1
Journalists and ordinary users frequently engaged in self-censorship before the most recent government efforts to silence critics.2 The practice has become even more common in the past few years, however, as fears of reprisals for online speech under recently passed laws, including the 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law, were realized (see C2 and C3). The November 2021 electoral period, characterized by a harsh clampdown on opposition figures, dissenting voices, and independent journalists, further dissuaded some Nicaraguans from speaking out (see C3).3 In March 2023, José Cardoza, a member of the Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua (PCIN) organization, affirmed that journalists who decide to remain in Nicaragua must often avoid any social, political, or economic topics in order to continue their work and escape government closure.4
Despite the highly repressive atmosphere, many journalists and everyday users have continued to express political speech online using anonymous and encrypted platforms rather than censoring themselves completely (see B8 and C4). Journalists for independent media outlets, for instance, have largely stopped using bylines.5 Social media users have implemented similar practices to safeguard against repression. Many Twitter users created anonymous accounts to continue speaking out, for instance, while Facebook and Instagram users narrowed their audiences, sharing political content exclusively with those on “close friends” lists.6
High levels of state surveillance have also contributed to self-censorship,7 as has extralegal pressure by forces aligned with the regime (see C5 and C7).
- 1Mildred Largaespada. “El año #YaNoMás en que enfrentamos la censura (y resistimos la autocensura) en las redes sociales [The #YaNoMás year in which we faced censorship (and resisted self-censorship) on social media], El Confidencial. December 26, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/politica/el-ano-yanomas-en-que-enfrenta…; “In light of serious allegations regarding the closure of civic spaces in Nicaragua, UN and IACHR Special Rapporteurs urge authorities to comply with their international obligations to respect and guarantee fundamental freedoms,” Organization of American States, September 28, 2022, https://www.oas.org/en/iachr/expression/showarticle.asp?lID=1&artID=1257
- 2“Entra vigor ley que ejercerá vigilancia en redes sociales en Nicaragua [Law that will exercise surveillance in social networks enters into force in Nicaragua],” Forbes Centroamérica, December 30, 2020, https://forbescentroamerica.com/2020/12/30/entra-vigor-ley-que-ejercera…; Human Rights Watch, “Nicaragua Events of 2020,” Accessed July 2021, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/nicaragua; “Parlamento de Nicaragua ratifica polémica ley de cadena perpetua [Nicaraguan Parliament ratifies controversial life imprisonment law],” Deutche Welle, January 19, 2021, https://www.dw.com/es/parlamento-de-nicaragua-ratifica-pol%C3%A9mica-le…; Ley de Reforma al Artículo 37 de la Constitución Política de la República de Nicaragua, National Assembly of Nicaragua, January 18, 2021, https://perma.cc/6LHM-ZZ4F
- 3Mildred Largaespada. “El año #YaNoMás en que enfrentamos la censura (y resistimos la autocensura) en las redes sociales [The #YaNoMás year in which we faced censorship (and resisted self-censorship) on social media], El Confidencial. December 26, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/politica/el-ano-yanomas-en-que-enfrenta…; Civic Media Observatory, “Undertones: Nicaragua's “sham” elections have cold shower effect on media,” Global Voices, November 24, 2021, https://globalvoices.org/2021/11/24/undertones-nicaraguas-sham-election…
- 4Houston Castillo Vado and Donaldo Hernandez, “La ‘presión política’ amenaza con dejar sin periodistas a Nicaragua [‘Political pressure’ threatens to leave Nicaragua without journalists],” VOA, March 1, 2023, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/la-presi%C3%B3n-pol%C3%ADtica-amenaza-co….
- 5Divergentes, “Anonymous sources: Repression installs unprecedented self-censorship in Nicaragua,” LatAm Journalism Review, September 10, 2021, https://latamjournalismreview.org/news/anonymous-sources-repression-ins…
- 6Mildred Largaespada. “El año #YaNoMás en que enfrentamos la censura (y resistimos la autocensura) en las redes sociales [The #YaNoMás year in which we faced censorship (and resisted self-censorship) on social media], El Confidencial. December 26, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/politica/el-ano-yanomas-en-que-enfrenta….
- 7“Two Years into Nicaragua’s Human Rights Crisis, the IACHR Stresses its Permanent Commitment to Victims and Confirms the Consolidation of a Fifth Phase of Repression, Organization of American States,” Organization of American States, April 18, 2020, http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2020/080.asp.
|Are online sources of information controlled or manipulated by the government or other powerful actors to advance a particular political interest?||1.001 4.004|
The government and its allies manipulate online sources of information through a variety of means. As indicated in a March 2023 report by the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua (GHREN), senior government officials, progovernment media, and social media users have used inflammatory rhetoric to stage disinformation and stigmatization campaigns against real or perceived opponents of the regime. According to the 2023 GHREN report, since 2018, such disinformation campaigns have been launched as part of “an attempt to justify the Government’s criminal actions and persuade the Nicaraguan community about the urgency of an alleged foreign attack against the very existence of the State of Nicaragua,” thereby framing government critics as enemies of Nicaragua itself.1
In recent years, members of the president’s family and other close government associates have purchased media outlets, including some that operate online. This has undermined the independence and credibility of the outlets in question, allowing regime forces to control the broader public discourse through their articles and social media posts. The government has also directed specific coverage; in 2018, for example, after mass protests erupted over a plan to lower pensions while raising social security contributions, Vice President Rosario Murillo—Ortega’s wife—instructed progovernment outlets such as news site El 19 Digital not to report on the movement.2
The regime also organizes inauthentic social media activity to serve its political interests. In an initiative known as the Digital Project, more than 100 employees from various public institutions work from the Nicaraguan Post Office building to produce content and post it to multiple social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Similar cells operate in other public buildings in different municipalities. One of their mandates is to create and disseminate false news and information to shed a positive light on the Ortega regime, smear critics, and cause anxiety—for example by insinuating that police will arrest someone. Murillo reportedly first ordered the creation of these “troll factories” in 2018.3 Automated accounts from both the progovernment and antigovernment camps emerged during the mass protests that year, though the regime employed more bots, many of which reportedly originated in Venezuela.4
The government’s online influence operation continued during the current coverage period. According to the Venezuela-based ProBox Digital Observatory, Nicaraguan regime-affiliated accounts called “La Tropa Sandinista” (the Sandinista Troops) led coordinated inauthentic campaigns that allowed them to impose more than 75 percent of all trends on Twitter in Nicaragua through more than 600,000 tweets during 2022. By comparison, civil society actors and activists accounted for only one quarter of all trends during the year, though almost 90 percent of their more than 65,000 tweets were generated authentically by real users, and included prominent trends such as #SOSNicaragua and #AbrilNoSeOlvida (#DontForgetApril) (see B8).5
During the previous coverage period, in October 2021, Meta reported removing “one of the most cross-government troll operations [they had] disrupted to date”: a network of over 1,400 assets (362 Instagram accounts, 896 Facebook accounts, 132 Facebook pages, and 24 Facebook groups) operated by the government and the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN). These findings corroborated prior reporting, indicating that the network had used fake accounts to post and amplify progovernment, pro-FSLN, and anti-opposition content from 2018 onward.6
Starting in late 2019, the network increasingly achieved this by creating and amplifying a large number of media brands with wide-reaching presence across social media platforms, websites, and blogs. The broader influence operation spanned at least six platforms, including Twitter, Telegram, YouTube, and TikTok. Meta alleged that the use of the brands, which sometimes claimed to be independent or local community members and even impersonated political opposition groups, was an attempt to create the appearance of vibrant public debate while flooding the online landscape with pro-state content.
According to analysis by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFR Lab) published in November 2021, accounts linked to the influence operation on Facebook, Telegram, and Twitter primarily promoted content in support of Ortega and his 2021 reelection campaign, especially in the weeks and months leading up to the vote. As of the publication of the DFR Lab investigation, participating accounts remained operational on Telegram and TikTok, while the other platforms had removed many participating accounts.7
At least six media initiatives have sought to counter the distorted online information landscape in recent years, though many were eventually forced to close due to financial difficulties (see B7).8
- 1“Detailed conclusions of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua,” OHCHR, p. 231, March 7, 2023, https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/….
- 2Drazen Jorgic and Ismael López, “Cómo Ortega levantó un imperio mediático que enriquece a su familia y afianza su poder en Nicaragua [How Ortega built a media empire that enriches his family and strengthens his power in Nicaragua],” Reuters, December 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/politica-nicaragua-ortega-idESKBN2831EF.
- 3“‘Trolls’ de Rosario Murillo operan en Correos de Nicaragua [Rosario Murillo's ‘Trolls’ operate in the Nicaraguan Post Office],” 100% Noticias, April 1, 2021, https://100noticias.com.ni/nacionales/106265-rosario-murillo-trolls-red…; “Así operan ‘las turbas virtuales’ del régimen que «provocan zozobra» desde instituciones públicas,” Divergentes, June 11, 2021, https://www.divergentes.com/asi-operan-las-turbas-virtuales-del-regimen….
- 4Caroline Houck and Carl David Goette-Luciak, “Nicaragua’s Online Civil War,” Overture Global, accessed August 2021, https://www.overtureglobal.io/story/nicaraguas-online-civil-war.
- 5“Nicaragua: Semana Santa entre la manipulación oficialista y represión [Nicaragua: Holy Week among the regime manipulation and repression],” Observatorio Digital ProBox, April 18, 2023, https://proboxve.org/es/publicacion/nicaragua-semana-santa-entre-la-man….
- 6“October 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report,” Meta, October 2021 (updated November 5, 2021), https://about.fb.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/October-2021-CIB-Report…
- 7Esteban Ponce de León and Daniel Suárez Pérez, “Multi-platform troll farm linked to Nicaraguan government,” DFRLab, November 5, 2021, https://medium.com/dfrlab/multi-platform-troll-farm-linked-to-nicaragua…
- 8Moises Urbina and Vladimir Vásquez, “The challenge of using WhatsApp, a platform not designed for media outlets,” Confidencial, January 29, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/the-challenge-of-using-whatsapp….
|Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online?||1.001 3.003|
Independent media outlets proliferated after the 2018 protests; at least 24 outlets were reportedly established between April 2018 and May 2020.1 However, such enterprises and individual bloggers face significant financial hurdles. Since the state does not allocate funds to critical outlets, their financing is unreliable.2 Even as new outlets were created following the 2018 protests, many online journalists have either left the country or abandoned the profession altogether due to low incomes and the multiple threats and obstacles associated with their work, a trend that accelerated during the current coverage period.3 At least 15 Nicaraguan digital media outlets operate in exile from Costa Rica because it has become impossible for them to operate from within Nicaragua itself.4
In March 2022, investigative journalism outlet Expediente Público (Public File) reported that media linked to the Ortega family received around half of state advertising funds between 2018 and 2021.5 Additionally, regime-instigated censorship on YouTube can also affect the monetization capacity of independent media outlets that rely on the platform, ultimately silencing their reporting.6
The government has launched several court cases or tax investigations against media executives in recent years, seizing newsrooms and venues where media offices are located (see C3). Those affected include traditional outlets with a large online presence.7
In October 2020, the government enacted Law No. 1040, the Law on the Regulation of Foreign Agents, which obliges any individual or legal person that participates in any type of civic or public policy activity and receives foreign funds to enroll in the Registry of Foreign Agents. Article 9 of the law explains that “foreign agents” must inform the government in advance of the origins of any funds they will receive and how said funds will be used;8 as a result, “foreign agents” are prohibited from receiving anonymous donations. The government will have the authority to evaluate and determine whether the information is suitable. If an entity does not comply or register as a foreign agent within a set period of time after receiving notification from the relevant authority, the law authorizes the government to restrict its activities connected to the funding in question, impose fines, and cancel its legal status.
- 1Literal, “El boom de los medios digitales en la Nicaragua post abril 2018 [The boom of digital media in Nicaragua post April 2018], May 18, 2020, https://literalni.com/noticias/228-el-boom-de-los-medios-digitales-en-l….
- 2Houston Castillo Vado and Donaldo Hernández, “Medios digitales en Nicaragua surgen en medio de presión de Ortega a medios tradicionales [Digital media in Nicaragua emerge amid pressure from Ortega to traditional media],” Voice of America, September 20, 2020, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/centroamerica/medios-digitales-nicaragua-a….
- 3Houston Castillo Vado and Donaldo Hernández, “La ‘presión política’ amenaza con dejar sin periodistas a Nicaragua [‘Political pressure’ threatens to leave Nicaragua without journalists],” VOA, March 1, 2023, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/la-presi%C3%B3n-pol%C3%ADtica-amenaza-co….
- 4Houston Castillo Vado, “¿Cómo los medios nicas continúan informando lo que ocurre en el país desde el exilio? [How do the Nicaraguan media continue to report what is happening in the country from exile?],” VOA, August 30, 2022, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/nicaragua-medios-informan-desde-el-exili….
- 5“La verdad del régimen: zanahoraria a propagandistas y palo a independientes [The truth of the regime: carrots to propagandists and stick to independents], Expediente Público, March 23, 2022, https://www.expedientepublico.org/la-verdad-del-regimen-zanahoria-a-pro…
- 6Moisés Urbina & Vladimir Vásquez, “From television to YouTube: Nicaraguan media against Ortega’s censorship,” Confidencial, January 28, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/from-television-to-youtube-nica….
- 7Houston Castillo Vado, “Asset Freeze Threatens to Silence Independent Nicaraguan Broadcaster,” Voice of America, September 18, 2020, https://www.voanews.com/press-freedom/asset-freeze-threatens-silence-in…; Drazen Jorgic and Ismael López, “Cómo Ortega levantó un imperio mediático que enriquece a su familia y afianza su poder en Nicaragua [How Ortega built a media empire that enriches his family and strengthens his power in Nicaragua],” Reuters, December 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/politica-nicaragua-ortega-idESKBN2831EF.
- 8“Law Regulating Foreigg Agents,” Legislacion Asamblea, October 15, 2020, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/9e314815a08d4a620625726….
|Does the online information landscape lack diversity and reliability?||2.002 4.004|
The vast majority of traditional media outlets are controlled by people close to the government and maintain a progovernment editorial line. Those that have not been bought or co-opted by the government and its allies have difficulty accessing official information and remaining financially viable. Though online outlets have faced increasing financial and legal constraints in recent years (see B6 and C3), digital media has become one of the few remaining spaces for independent reporting in Nicaragua.1
Between 2018 and September 2020, at least 28 new online outlets or digital portals were established.2 According to the International Press Institute (IPI), at least 20 television or radio outlets that faced censorship transitioned to online operations between April 2018 and April 2021.3 Nicaragua’s last newspaper with a print edition, La Prensa, suspended its printed version in August 2021, continuing operations exclusively online (see C3).4 This transition continued during the current coverage period amid worsening censorship; several traditional outlets that were closed by the Ortega regime in 2022, including Radio Vos and Canal Católico de Nicaragua (Catholic Channel of Nicaragua), transitioned to digital platforms to continue their reporting.5
There remains a lack of online content dedicated to gender-based issues and representing women more broadly; as of May 2023, online outlet La Lupa seemed to be one of the few specifically focused on providing a gendered perspective.6 However, some other digital outlets, such as Intertextual, also regularly cover gender-based issues.7
In the past, civil society has undertaken initiatives to cultivate a digital environment that is more inclusive and representative of Indigenous voices, including through the creation of online content in Miskito and Mayangna Indigenous languages.8
Following reforms to the National Cinematheque law in October 2022 (see B3), the human rights group Colectivo de Derechos Humanos Nicaragua Nunca Más (Nicaragua Never Again Human Rights Collective) noted that the production and dissemination of audiovisual content is subject to state propaganda channels and potential censorship.9 Such regulations could serve to further restrict the diversity of online content, particularly on digital video platforms such as YouTube and TikTok.
- 1Houston Castillo Vado, “¿Cómo los medios nicas continúan informando lo que ocurre en el país desde el exilio? [How do the Nicaraguan media continue to report what is happening in the country from exile?],” VOA, August 30, 2022, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/nicaragua-medios-informan-desde-el-exili….
- 2Houston Castillo Vado and Donaldo Hernández, “Medios digitales en Nicaragua surgen en medio de presión de Ortega a medios tradicionales [Digital media in Nicaragua emerge amid pressure from Ortega on traditional media],” VOA, September 20, 2020, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/centroamerica_medios-digitales-nicaragua…
- 3“Nicaragua’s press freedom crisis deepens,” International Press Institute, April 12, 2021, https://ipi.media/nicaraguas-press-freedom-crisis-deepens/.
- 4“Nicaragua: prominent anti-Ortega newspaper raided by police,” Deutsche Welle, August 14, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/nicaragua-prominent-anti-ortega-newspaper-raided-….
- 5“La guerra de Daniel Ortega contra el periodismo: 54 medios cerrados [Daniel Ortega’s war against journalism; 54 outlets closed],” Confidencial, September 8, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/especiales/la-guerra-de-daniel-ortega-cont….
- 6Houston Castillo Vado, “Mujeres periodistas emprenden en medios digitales para seguir informando sobre Nicaragua [Women journalists undertake in digital media to continue reporting on Nicaragua],” Voice of America, May 26, 2022, https://www.vozdeamerica.com/a/mujeres-periodistas-emprenden-en-medios-…
- 7See Intertextual, https://www.intertextualnic.com/.
- 8“Miskitus y Mayangnas en El Internet [Miskitus and Mayangnas on the Internet], Activismo Lenguas, March 30, 2020, https://rising.globalvoices.org/lenguas/proyectos-beneficiarios/miskitu…; “Multimedia Miskitu,” accessed October 6, 2022, https://llynnh.wixsite.com/multimedia-miskitu; “Miskitus y Mayangnas En El Internet [Miskitus and Mayangnas on the Internet], Facebook, accessed October 6, 2022, https://www.facebook.com/Miskitus-y-Mayangnas-En-El-Internet-2021031035…
- 9Lorena Baires, “Régimen nicaragüense sanciona grabaciones audiovisuals [Nicaraguan regime sanctions audiovisual productions],” Diálogo Américas, December 7, 2022, https://dialogo-americas.com/es/articles/nicaraguan-regime-sanctions-au….
|Do conditions impede users’ ability to mobilize, form communities, and campaign, particularly on political and social issues?||3.003 6.006|
Score Change: The score declined from 4 to 3 because while some digital activism has continued, government repression closed the space to translate online campaigns into significant offline mobilization during the coverage period.
Activists who organize online have faced arrests and other forms of persecution,1 both during the 2018 protests2 and in the years following. Faced with severe legal penalties and ongoing digital surveillance (see C3 and C5), the threat of repression has made it increasingly difficult to translate digital activism into offline mobilization in recent years.
Despite such obstacles, citizens still engage in some digital activism to demand accountability and greater transparency from the government, as well as to call for an end to the Ortega regime. Such activism is increasingly being done through anonymous accounts and on encrypted platforms, like WhatsApp, as users and journalists try to avoid retaliation from the state (see B4 and C4).3 Some movements on social media focus on environmentalism,4 while others have documented human rights violations perpetrated by those close to the regime.5 In April 2023, during the fifth anniversary of the 2018 protests, the outlet La Lupa used #5AñosDeAbril2018 (#5YearsOfApril2018) on Twitter to feature special reporting on the milestone;6 human rights defenders also used #AbrilVive (#AprilLives) and #AbrilNoSeOlvida to continue calls for democracy in the country.7
In 2022, several human rights organizations launched the digital campaign #NicasLibresYa to bring attention to the situation of political prisoners in Nicaragua and advocate for their release.10
- 1Rodrigo Rodríguez, Juliana Castro, and Llama Digital, “Gobierno de Nicaragua busca criminalizar la protesta en línea [Nicaraguan government seeks to criminalize online protest],” Access Now, November 25, 2020, https://www.accessnow.org/nicaragua-tiktok-seguridad-consejos-la-protes….
- 2Access Now, “New wave of online attacks in Nicaragua puts opposition voices at risk of physical violence,” September 13, 2018, https://www.accessnow.org/new-wave-of-online-attacks-in-nicaragua-puts-….
- 3Mildred Largaespada, “El año #YaNoMás en que enfrentamos la censura (y resistimos la autocensura) en las redes sociales [The #YaNoMás year in which we faced censorship (and resisted self-censorship) on social media],” El Confidencial. December 26, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/politica/el-ano-yanomas-en-que-enfrenta…;
- 4Carlos Salinas Maldonado, “El movimiento juvenil que le planta cara a Daniel Ortega [The youth movement that stands up to Daniel Ortega],” El País, April 14, 2018, https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/04/13/actualidad/1523651830_24920….
- 5Julio López, “#SOSNicaragua,” Nueva Sociedad, September 2018, https://nuso.org/articulo/sosnicaragua-revolucion-civica-en-las-calles-….
- 6La Lupa, @lalupa_ni, “#Especial #5AñosDeAbril2018 | ¿Cómo cambió la vida de los nicaragüenses la Rebelión de Abril y la represión? En el quinto aniversario, cinco nicaragüenses cuentan su historia.” Twitter, April 21, 2023, https://twitter.com/lalupa_ni/status/1649444704017080326.
- 7AUN, @AUNNicaragua, “La lucha por la libertad nunca ha sido fácil en Masaya, pero hace 5 años sus ciudadanos demostraron al mundo lo que significa la valentía. Hoy, seguimos luchando por la democracia en todo el país. ¡Juntos podemos lograrlo! #AbrilVive #AbrilNoSeOlvida,” Twitter, April 21, 2023, https://twitter.com/AUNNicaragua/status/1649495719215267840.
- 8Colectivo de Derechos Humanos "Nicaragua Nunca +", @ColectivoNunca, “La Coalición #NicaraguaLucha denuncia incremento sistemático de asesinatos por parte de colonos armados hacia comunidades indígenas del territorio Mayagna Sauni As en Caribe Norte de #Nicaragua, sin que el Estado tenga ninguna acción concreta para frenar los ataques violentos,” Twitter, March 14, 2023, https://twitter.com/ColectivoNunca/status/1635775658675560448?cxt=HHwWg….
- 9Race and Equality, @raceandequality, “EN VIVO: Conversatorio entre el Grupo de Expertos en DDHH sobre #Nicaragua (#GHREN) y las defensoras Wendy Flores @ColectivoNunca, Olga Valle @UrnasAbiertas y Josefa Meza @MadresDeAbril,” Twitter, March 13, 2023, https://twitter.com/raceandequality/status/1635411420404940800.
- 10Nicas Libres Ya, “¿Quiénes somos? [Who are we?],” accessed September 2023, https://nicaslibresya.org/quienes-somos/.
|Do the constitution or other laws fail to protect rights such as freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom, including on the internet, and are they enforced by a judiciary that lacks independence?||1.001 6.006|
Score Change: The score declined from 2 to 1 due to the deteriorating environment for free expression in Nicaragua, worsened by a judiciary that lacks independence.
Constitutional rights are not respected in practice, and the judiciary is dominated by regime loyalists that consistently fail to uphold basic standards of judicial independence.1
The constitution nominally protects the fundamental rights of freedom of expression (Article 30) and access to information (Article 66). Although there is no explicit mention of press freedom, citizens have the right to access “social mass communications media,” and there is a declaration that “public, corporate, or private mass communications” will not be subject to prior censorship (Article 68). However, the “right to inform” is subject to subsequent responsibilities established by law (Article 67). An Access to Information Law (Law No. 621) was enacted in 2007.2
The formal rights outlined in the constitution are often violated. According to the GHREN’s March 2023 report, the period since January 2022 has been characterized by the “total closure of the civic and democratic space” in Nicaragua.3 In practice, the judiciary is subservient to the executive and has been used to target the political opposition, religious figures, and other critics of the Ortega regime through significant criminal sentences (see C3).4
According to an April 2023 report by Latin American civil society groups Southern Voices (VDS) and the Foundation for Freedom of Expression and Democracy (FLED), at least 185 journalists have fled the country since 2018.5
In February 2023, the National Assembly modified Article 21 of the constitution to allow the government to revoke the citizenship of those it deems “traitors of the homeland.” Though the constitutional changes technically cannot take effect until approved by the next session of the legislature, the National Assembly nevertheless moved forward to pass a new law regulating such citizenship revocation, which was used to strip hundreds of people of their citizenship later that month (see C2 and C3).6
In March 2019, the opposition-oriented Civic Alliance for Justice and Democracy (ACJD) and the Ortega government signed an agreement to strengthen and guarantee the rights of citizens; the pact formed the basis for a set of protocols that included protecting the constitutional rights of freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom.7 However, during the previous coverage period, in March 2022, the ACJD stated that the government had not met its obligations and demanded that it comply with the agreement.8
- 1“Nicaragua’s Judiciary: Subordinate to the Ortega-Murillo Regime,” Expediente Público, January 8, 2021, https://expedientepublico.org/nicaraguas-judiciary-subordinate-to-the-o….
- 2“Law on Access to Public Information,” Legislacion Asamblea, May 16, 2007, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/Normaweb.nsf/($All)/675A94FF2EBFEE91….
- 3“Detailed conclusions of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua,” OHCHR, p. 66, March 7, 2023, https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/hrbodies/hrcouncil/….
- 4Wilmer Benavides, “Poder Judicial, la ‘institución de oro’ para perseguir a la oposición [Judiciary, the ‘golden institution’ to persecute the opposition],” Artículo 66, April 24, 2023, https://www.articulo66.com/2023/04/24/poder-judicial-la-institucion-de-….
- 5“Libertad de Prensa en Nicaragua sin respiro: Ortega no deja de atacar [Freedom of the Press in Nicaragua without breath: Ortega does not stop attacking],” Voces del Sur and Fundación por la Libertad de Expresión y la Democracia, April 10, 2023, https://vocesdelsurunidas.org/gobierno-de-ortega-sigue-atacando-a-la-pr….
- 6“Diputados orteguistas modifican la Constitución para despojar a los presos políticos de su nacionalidad [Ortega deputies modify the Constitution to strip political prisoners of their nationality],” La Prensa, February 9, 2023, https://www.laprensani.com/2023/02/09/nacionales/3104053-diputados-orte….
- 7Julio López, “Proponen protocolo sobre libertad de expresión [Protocol on freedom of expression proposed],” Onda Local, July 23, 2019, https://ondalocal.com.ni/noticias/735-protocolo-libertad-expresion-info….
- 8“Alianza Cívica demanda al gobierno que cumpla los acuerdos de 2019 [Civic Alliance Sues the Government To Comply With The 2019 Agreements],” Civic Alliance, March 27, 2022, https://www.alianzacivicanicaragua.com/alianza-civica-demanda-al-gobier…
|Are there laws that assign criminal penalties or civil liability for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||1.001 4.004|
The 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law contains significant punishments for online activities that are protected under international human rights standards. Article 28 prescribes two to four years in prison for the use of information technologies to slander a person’s honor or prestige or divulge a person’s secrets. Article 29 punishes anyone who uses information technologies to praise a crime or its perpetrator. Both provisions are written broadly enough to allow for the suppression of freedom of expression online. Article 30 assigns penalties of two to four years in prison for the dissemination of “fake news,” but it does not differentiate between deliberate disinformation and misinformation that is shared without malicious intent. The article also fails to explain how a news article can be labeled as fake, leaving ample room for abuse. The penalty increases to three to five years in prison if the content “incites hatred or violence, or puts at risk economic stability, public health, national sovereignty or law and order.” In addition, users can face four to six years in prison for revealing “unauthorized” information, or eight years for accessing or spreading information that could harm national security.1 The law, which is applicable to both social media users and media outlets, could be used as a tool to punish dissent and control the flow of information online.2
Nicaragua’s existing penal code already criminalized defamation, insult, and contempt, which are punishable by fines ranging from 100 to 300 days’ worth of wages. These provisions could apply to online speech, though the code does not specify.3
Under constitutional reforms initiated in February 2023 (see C1), the National Assembly implemented processes to allow for the removal of citizenship through law and judiciary proceedings. That month, the National Assembly passed Law 1145, which declares that any person who has been convicted under Law 1055, the Sovereignty Law, which was previously passed in 2020, will lose their Nicaraguan nationality.4 Several human rights organizations have condemned the constitutional reform and accompanying law as illegal and a violation of international treaties to which Nicaragua has subscribed.5 Law 1145 was used in February to strip Nicaraguan citizenship from more than 300 people, including several individuals who had originally been arrested and convicted in connection with their online activities (see C3).6
The Sovereign Security Law of 2015 labels cyberattacks as threats to “sovereign security,”7 which is defined as the peaceful existence and permanent unity that gives stability and prosperity to Nicaraguan citizens, encompassing matters such as education, health, and the economy. However, the law is overly broad.8 Members of CENIDH had filed an appeal against the Sovereign Security Law in 2016 on the grounds that it violated constitutional rights.9
- 1Ismael Lopez, “Nicaragua passes bill criminalizing what government considers fake news,” Reuters, October 27, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/nicaragua-politics/nicaragua-passes-bil…; “Nicaragua approves ‘cybercrimes’ law, alarming rights groups,” AP, October 27, 2020, https://apnews.com/article/legislature-legislation-crime-daniel-ortega-….
- 2Gaspar Pisanu and Rodrigo Rodríguez, “Ley Especial de Ciberdelitos en Nicaragua: la opresión se traslada al mundo en línea [Special Cybercrime Law in Nicaragua: oppression moves to the online world],” Access Now, September 30, 2020, https://www.accessnow.org/ley-especial-de-ciberdelitos-en-nicaragua-opr….
- 3“Criminal Defamation Laws in Central America,” CPJ, March 2016, https://cpj.org/reports/2016/03/central-america/.
- 4La Asamblea Nacional de la República de Nicaragua, Law No. 1145, “Ley Especial que Regula la Pérdida de la Nacionalidad Nicaragüense [Special Law that Regulates the Loss of Nicaraguan Nationality],” February 10, 2023, https://www.leybook.com/doc/30945/.
- 5“En qué consiste la controvertida reforma ‘exprés’ con la que Nicaragua convirtió en ‘apátridas’ a los opositores liberados y enviados a EE.UU. [What is the controversial ‘express’ reform with which Nicaragua made the opponents released and sent to the United States ‘stateless’?],” BBC News World, February 10, 2023, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-64601707.
- 6Alan Yuhas, “Nicaragua Strips Citizenship From Hundreds Days After Prisoner Release,” The New York Times, February 17, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/17/world/americas/nicaragua-strips-citi….
- 7“Ley de Seguridad Soberana de La República de Nicaragua,” Legislacion Asemblea, December 18, 2015, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/SILEG/Gacetas.nsf/5eea6480fc3d3d9006….
- 8“Soverign Security Law of the Republic of Nicaragua,” Legislacion Asemblea, December 2, 2015, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/9e314815a08d4a620625726….
- 9Cenidh, “CENIDH presenta recurso por inconstitucionalidad contra la Ley de Seguridad Soberana [CENIDH files an appeal for unconstitutionality against the Sovereign Security Law],” February 12, 2016, https://www.cenidh.org/noticias/871/.
|Are individuals penalized for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||1.001 6.006|
Score Change: The score declined from 2 to 1 due to the imposition of severe criminal penalties during the coverage period in connection with online activities, including numerous detentions and at least one multiyear prison sentence issued partly under charges of “spreading false news.”
Criminal penalties for individuals’ online activities continued during the coverage period. Though the Ortega regime freed 222 political prisoners, several of whom had been imprisoned under the Special Cybercrimes Law for their online activities, in February 2023, they were simultaneously stripped of Nicaraguan citizenship and exiled to the United States.1 Later that month, a Nicaraguan court stripped the citizenship of an additional 94 individuals, including the directors of the independent digital outlets 100% Noticias and Artículo 66.2 The regime has blocked access to pension payments and other assets for those declared stateless.3
Several individuals exiled in February 2023 had previously been charged and convicted under the 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law, including Donald Margarito Alvarenga Mendoza, who was the first person convicted under the law.4 Mendoza had been sentenced in January 2022 to 12 years in prison for allegedly inciting "hate and violence," undermining national integrity, and spreading false news through Facebook posts and WhatsApp messages. Reporting found that the only political posts on Mendoza’s Facebook page were those demanding freedom for political prisoners and a call to abstain from voting in the 2021 general election.5 Digital activist Yoel Ibzan Sandino Ibarra was also among those exiled in February 2023.6 He had originally been sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison in March 2022 on charges of violating the Cybercrimes Law and conspiring to undermine national integrity. Ibarra had created the Mentes Libres (Free Minds) Facebook page in 2018 at the onset of the protests to share information about the country’s sociopolitical crisis. Ibarra was arrested in November 2021, two days before the general election, after posting about the imprisonment of opposition presidential candidates.7
In February 2023, Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison and stripped of his nationality after being found guilty of several charges, including the propagation of false news through information and communication technologies and undermining national integrity. The day before Álvarez was sentenced, he had refused to board the plane that released 222 political prisoners to the United States.8 As a Roman Catholic bishop, Álvarez regularly used his homilies to criticize the human rights abuses of the Ortega regime, often spreading religious messages through WhatsApp.9 Álvarez also used other digital platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube, to broadcast Masses he said online.10
On April 6, 2023, digital and television journalist Victor Ticay, the director of Facebook-based news outlet La Portada, was arrested after covering a Catholic Easter procession in the municipality of Nandaime the previous day.11 Ticay had uploaded a 25-minute Facebook Live video that showed congregants participating in traditional processions around the local church, defying the government’s prohibition of public religious displays.12 The video was taken down shortly after his arrest.13 After being detained, Ticay was denied access to an attorney or any outside communication for more than 40 days before being formally charged for alleged cybercrime and treason in May.14 After the coverage period, on June 9, 2023, Ticay was found guilty of spreading false news and undermining national integrity, following a trial that was condemned by the Nicaragua Never Again Human Rights Collective for lacking basic due process standards. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in August 2023.15
Authorities conducted numerous mass arrests during the coverage period, detaining individuals in apparent connection with their online activities. In May 2023, the Ortega regime arbitrarily detained almost 60 people for alleged conspiracy to undermine national integrity and the dissemination of false news. The individuals were detained during a nighttime raid primarily targeting critics of the government and were held for at least a few hours before being conditionally released.16 A few months earlier, in February, at least 17 people were detained after they allegedly spread false news about organized crime on WhatsApp. Though they were later released, the individuals were reportedly warned that they had violated the Special Cybercrimes Law and their phones were confiscated. It remains unclear whether any of them ultimately faced criminal charges.17
In July 2022, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) acquitted internet user Douglas Alfredo Cerros Lanzas of the crimes of spreading false news and undermining national integrity, citing irregularities in his trial.18 Lanzas had been found guilty under the Special Cybercrimes Law during the previous coverage period, in January 2022, and had been sentenced to 12 years in prison.19 He was detained on the eve of the election, accused of undermining national integrity through Facebook and WhatsApp.20 His posts had included questions around the integrity of the election.
During the previous coverage period, prosecutors’ offices mounted several investigations against journalists and political activists ahead of the November 2021 general elections.21 Prominent critical news outlet La Prensa was raided by police forces in August 2021 based on allegations that the outlet had engaged in money laundering; the raid came one day after the outlet announced that it had suspended its print operations due to authorities withholding printing supplies. During the raid, the newspaper's employees were not allowed to leave the premises or contact anyone outside, and internet service in the building was cut off.22 One year later, in August 2022, authorities completed a “de facto confiscation” of La Prensa’s assets, confiscating the outlet’s headquarters and converting it into a cultural center.23 An earlier raid was carried out in May 2021, at the office of the news site Confidencial, which has been critical of the Ortega regime, and at the home of its director, Carlos Fernando Chamorro. Several of the site’s journalists were detained.24
In recent years, charges have also been leveled against individuals for online content that was not explicitly political or related to the 2021 election. In September 2021, the Public Ministry announced criminal charges against environmental and Indigenous activist Amaru Ruiz Alemán. Alemán, who has been in exile since 2018, faces charges of spreading false information under the Cybercrimes Law for his social media activism in 2020 and 2021, which focused on human rights violations against Indigenous and Afro-descendant populations in Nicaragua.25
- 1Simone Popperl and A Martínez, “What it’s like to be a freed Nicaraguan political prisoner,” NPR, February 23, 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/02/23/1157547067/freed-nicaraguan-political-pr….
- 2“Dictadura Despoja a otros 94 nicaragüenses de su nacionalidad y confisca sus bienes [Dictatorship strips another 94 Nicaraguans of their nationality and confiscates their assets],” La Prensa, February 15, 2023, https://www.laprensani.com/2023/02/15/politica/3107196-dictadura-despoj….
- 3Organization of American States, “Nicaragua: IACHR and REDESCA Express Concern About Violations of Property and Social Security Rights,” April 14, 2023, https://www.oas.org/en/IACHR/jsForm/?File=/en/iachr/media_center/PRelea….
- 4“Lista completa de los presos políticos desterrados difundida por el régimen sandinista [Complete list of exiled political prisoners released by the Sandinista regime],” El País, February 9, 2023, https://elpais.com/internacional/2023-02-09/asi-es-la-lista-de-los-pres….
- 5Juan Carlos Bow, “Doce años de cárcel por opinar en Facebook y mensajes de WhatsApp [Twelve years in prison for commenting on Facebook and WhatsApp messages],” El Confidencial, January 30, 2022, https://www.confidencial.digital/nacion/doce-anos-de-carcel-por-opinar-…
- 6“Lista completa de los presos políticos desterrados difundida por el régimen sandinista [Complete list of exiled political prisoners released by the Sandinista regime],” El País, February 9, 2023, https://elpais.com/internacional/2023-02-09/asi-es-la-lista-de-los-pres….
- 7“Yoel Sandino Ibarra, political prisoner for creating a Facebook page,” The LA News, March 5, 2022, https://latin-american.news/yoel-sandino-ibarra-political-prisoner-for-…; “Condenan a 11 años y medio de cárcel al activista Yoel Sandino, creador de Mentes Libres [Activist Yoel Sandino, creator of Free Minds, sentenced to 11 and a half years in prison],” Nicaragua Investiga, March 24, 2022, https://nicaraguainvestiga.com/politica/79213-yoel-sandino-condenado/
- 8“El obispo nicaragüense que se negó a ser desterrado es condenado a 26 años [The Nicaraguan bishop who refused to be exiled is sentenced to 26 years],” swissinfo.ch, February 11, 2023, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/nicaragua-iglesia_el-obispo-nicaragueense-….
- 9“Rolando Álvarez, el obispo nicaragüense crítico con el gobierno de Ortega que fue liberado unas horas y volvió preso en medio del secretismo [Rolando Álvarez, the Nicaraguan bishop critical of the Ortega government who was released a few hours and returned to prison amid secrecy],” BBC World News, February 11, 2023, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-64606339.
- 10Inés San Martín, “Nicaragua detains Catholic bishop, others for ‘crimes against spirtuality,’” Crux, August 6, 2022, https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/08/nicaragua-detains-ca….
- 11“Denuncian captura de Víctor Ticay por filmar procesión [They denounce the capture of Víctor Ticay for filming the procession],” DW, April 7, 2023, https://www.dw.com/es/nicaragua-denuncian-captura-de-v%C3%ADctor-ticay-….
- 12Carlos F. Chamorro, “Jailed for Reporting News of a Religious Procession,” Havana Times, accessed September 2023, https://havanatimes.org/opinion/jailed-for-reporting-news-of-a-religiou….
- 13“Journalist Victor Ticay arrested over coverage of Easter ceremony in Nicaragua,” CPJ, April 7, 2023, https://cpj.org/2023/04/journalist-victor-ticay-arrested-over-coverage-….
- 14“Nicaragua: La condena de 8 años contra el periodista Víctor Ticay se suma a la lista de violaciones a los derechos humanos [Nicaragua: The 8-year sentence against journalist Víctor Ticay adds to the list of human rights violations],” Article 19 Mexico and Central America, August 18, 2023, https://articulo19.org/nicaragua-la-condena-de-8-anos-contra-el-periodi….
- 15“Periodista Víctor Ticay condenado a 8 años de prisión [Journalist Victor Ticay sentenced to 8 years in prison],” Confidencial, August 17, 2023, https://confidencial.digital/nacion/periodista-victor-ticay-condenado-a….
- 16“Nicaragua: detienen a casi 60 opositores de Daniel Ortega [Nicaragua: almost 60 opponents of Daniel Ortega arrested],” DW, May 5, 2023, https://www.dw.com/es/nicaragua-detienen-a-casi-60-opositores-de-daniel….
- 17“La Policía retiene a 17 personas y les decomisa sus teléfonos bajo ‘sospechas’ de difundir noticias falsas en WhatsApp [The Police detain 17 people and confiscate their phones under ‘suspicion’ of spreading false news on WhatsApp],” Despacho 505, February 28, 2023, https://www.despacho505.com/detenidos-ciberdelitos-los-brasiles-mateare….
- 18“Absuelven a preso político Douglas Cerros Lanzas acusado por noticias falsas [Political prisoner Douglas Cerros Lanzas acquitted accused of false news],” 100% Noticias, August 12, 2022, https://100noticias.com.ni/politica/117428-csj-absuelve-preso-politico-….
- 19Noel Perez Miranda, “Dictadura manda a arresto domiciliario al preso politico Douglas Cerros [Dictatorship sends political prisoner Douglas Cerros to house arrest],” Articulo 66, July 4, 2022, https://www.articulo66.com/2022/07/03/dictadura-arresto-domiciliario-pr….
- 20“Declaran culpable a otro opositor bajo las leyes de ‘ciberdelitos’ y ‘soberanía’ [They declare another opponent guilty under the laws of ‘cybercrimes’ and ‘sovereignty’],” Confidencial, January 30, 2022, https://www.confidencial.digital/nacion/declaran-culpable-a-otro-oposit….
- 21“Crece acoso contra medios y periodistas en Nicaragua a seis meses de los comicios [Harassment against media and journalists grows in Nicaragua six months after the elections],” Agencia EFE, May 26, 2021, https://www.efe.com/efe/america/politica/periodistas-nicaraguenses-comp…
- 22Wilfredo Miranda, “La policia de Ortega allana al principal diario de Nicaragua y le acusa de defraudación aduanera [Ortega's police raid Nicaragua's main newspaper and accuse it of "customs fraud"], El Páis, August 13, 2021, https://elpais.com/internacional/2021-08-13/la-policia-de-ortega-allana…
- 23“El régimen de Ortega confisca la sede y los bienes del emblemático diario La Prensa [The Ortega regime confiscates the headquarters and seizes the assets of the emblematic newspaper La Prensa],” La Nación, August 23, 2022, https://www.lanacion.com.ar/el-mundo/el-regimen-de-ortega-confisca-la-s….
- 24“El régimen de Ortega desata una cacería de periodistas con el pretexto de perseguir el 'lavado de dinero' [The Ortega regime unleashes a hunt for journalists under the pretext of persecuting 'money laundering']," El País, May 25, 2021, https://elpais.com/internacional/2021-05-25/el-regimen-de-ortega-desata…; Wilfredo Miranda and Carlos Salinas Maldonado, “El régimen de Daniel Ortega vuelve a atacar y detener periodistas en Nicaragua,” El País, May 20, 2021, https://elpais.com/internacional/2021-05-20/el-gobierno-de-ortega-vuelv….
- 25“Nicaragua: criminalización de Amaru Ruiz Alemán [Nicaragua: Criminalization of Amaru Ruiz Alemán],” OMCT SOS-Torture Network, September 14, 2021, https://www.omct.org/es/recursos/llamamientos-urgentes/nicaragua-crimin….
|Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption?||4.004 4.004|
Nicaraguan authorities do not place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption, and the use of encrypted messaging and clandestine meetings has increased due to the dangers associated with expressing dissent publicly.1 SIM card registration is not required.2
- 1Will Grant, “Crisis en Nicaragua: los riesgos de protestar contra el gobierno de Daniel Ortega [Crisis in Nicaragua: the risks of protesting against the government of Daniel Ortega],” BBC News, November 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-45943994
- 2GSMA, “Access to Mobile Services and Proof of Identity 2020: The Undisputed Linkages,” March 2020, https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ac….
|Does state surveillance of internet activities infringe on users’ right to privacy?||2.002 6.006|
The authorities have typically focused their surveillance efforts on critics of the regime, especially independent journalists, rather than employing mass surveillance.1 However, evidence emerged during the coverage period that state surveillance since 2018 could be more extensive and sophisticated than previously thought.
A December 2022 report by the US–based National Defense University’s INSS covering Russia’s influence in Latin America claimed that Nicaraguan authorities have adopted Russian government–linked System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM-3) surveillance technology in Nicaragua since approximately 2018.2 SORM-3 is reportedly capable of intercepting a number of digital activities, including financial transactions, text messages, phone calls, emails, and posts on social networks, meaning that the Ortega regime has potentially been employing a sophisticated surveillance and monitoring system for several years.3 Such reporting comes as Nicaraguan authorities have sought to deepen cybersecurity cooperation with Russia (see C8).
In the past, authorities have reportedly targeted critics of the regime for digital monitoring.4 Under the 2020 Law on the Regulation of Foreign Agents (see B6), individuals and entities that are obliged to register as “foreign agents”—including civil society organizations and media outlets—would be subject to extensive government scrutiny.5 The 2020 Special Cybercrimes Law could also facilitate surveillance; according to CENIDH, the law implies that digital platforms would be closely monitored for violations, and government supporters have reportedly encouraged citizens to inform the authorities of potentially illegal content.6
Even before the passage of those two laws, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) had alleged that the government monitored their online activities.7 A 2018 report by Haaretz noted that the Nicaraguan government had purchased spyware and intelligence-gathering tools from Israeli companies, though experts have not been able to say definitively which software is in use.8 Public employees who are deployed as online “trolls” reportedly track public activity on websites and social media platforms, along with domestic and international media outlets, and report back to Vice President Murillo.9
Authorities frequently seize detainees’ devices. In February 2023, at least 17 individuals reportedly had their phones confiscated after they were detained for allegedly spreading false news on WhatsApp (see C3).10
There are some legal protections against unchecked surveillance, though it is unclear whether they are observed in practice. Article 13 of the 2015 Sovereign Security Law stipulates that no state security institution may engage in political espionage, intercept communications without judicial authorization, or improperly disclose any type of information that is acquired through the exercise of its functions, among other prohibitions.11
- 1Renata Avila, “Mapping Central American Digital Rights,” Medium, May 17, 2018, https://avilarenata.medium.com/mapa-centroamericano-de-actores-y-temas-….
- 2Douglas Farah and Marianne Richardson, “Dangerous Alliances: Russia’s Strategic Inroads in Latin America,” Institute for National Strategic Studies, December 2022, https://inss.ndu.edu/Portals/68/Documents/stratperspective/inss/strateg….
- 3“Citizens do not know they are ‘monitored’ by the Russian SORM system,” Confidencial, February 21, 2023, https://confidencial.digital/english/citizens-do-not-know-they-are-moni….
- 4Renata Avila, “Mapping Central American Digital Rights,” Medium, May 17, 2018, https://avilarenata.medium.com/mapa-centroamericano-de-actores-y-temas-…
- 5“RSF and PEN urge Nicaraguan legislators to reject ‘foreign agents’ bill,” Reporters without Borders, September 29, 2020, https://rsf.org/en/news/rsf-and-pen-urge-nicaraguan-legislators-reject-….
- 6“Ortega’s ‘Gag Law’ Takes Effect in Nicaragua,” Confidencial, January 1, 2021, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortegas-gag-law-takes-effect-in….
- 7U.S. Department of State, “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nicaragua,” March 30, 2021, https://www.state.gov/reports/2020-country-reports-on-human-rights-prac….
- 8Haggar Shezaf and Jonathan Jacobson, “Revealed: Israel’s Cyber-spy Industry Helps World Dictators Hunt Dissidents and Gays,” Haaretz, October 20, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-sp…; Juan Carlos Bow, “Ortega Spies Using Israeli Technology,” Confidencial, October 29, 2018, https://www.confidencial.com.ni/english/ortega-spies-using-israeli-tech….
- 9“‘Trolls’ de Rosario Murillo operan en Correos de Nicaragua [Rosario Murillo's ‘Trolls’ operate in the Nicaraguan Post Office],” 100% Noticias, April 1, 2021, https://100noticias.com.ni/nacionales/106265-rosario-murillo-trolls-red…; “Así operan ‘las turbas virtuales’ del régimen que «provocan zozobra» desde instituciones públicas,” Divergentes, June 11, 2021, https://www.divergentes.com/asi-operan-las-turbas-virtuales-del-regimen….
- 10“La Policía retiene a 17 personas y les decomisa sus teléfonos bajo ‘sospechas’ de difundir noticias falsas en WhatsApp [The Police detain 17 people and confiscate their phones under ‘suspicion’ of spreading false news on WhatsApp],” Despacho 505, February 28, 2023, https://www.despacho505.com/detenidos-ciberdelitos-los-brasiles-mateare….
- 11Legal Norms of Nicaragua, “LEY DE SEGURIDAD SOBERANA DE LA REPÚBLICA DE NICARAGUA [SOVEREIGN SECURITY LAW OF THE REPUBLIC OF NICARAGUA],” December 18, 2015, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/9e314815a08d4a620625726…
|Does monitoring and collection of user data by service providers and other technology companies infringe on users’ right to privacy?||3.003 6.006|
The 2007 Access to Information Law guarantees the protection of personal data,1 and a Law on the Protection of Personal Data was adopted in 2012,2 but the Personal Data Protection Authority (DIPRODAP) that was meant to ensure compliance with the legislation had yet to be established by the end of the coverage period.3
Article 24 of the 2012 law allows the exceptional collection and processing of personal data—without the consent or awareness of the data subject—for administrative purposes, including retention for a maximum of five years.4 The article also grants these functions to the police and the army if necessary to guarantee national security, but it does not clarify whether they would similarly be allowed to keep the data for five years. The law adds that a company cannot disclose and transfer any private information that it stores to a government officer without judicial authorization.5
In January 2021, as part of the implementation of the Special Cybercrimes Law, TELCOR published Administrative Agreement 001-2021 on Regulations for the Preservation of Data and Information. This regulation has raised concerns among several organizations due to its threats to the privacy of data subjects. Article 3 requires telecommunications companies to collect and preserve any data necessary to trace a communication; identify the recipient of a communication; identify the time, date, and duration of a communication; identify the type of communication, such as mobile phone, internet, or landline phone; identify the equipment used to conduct a communication; and identify the geolocation of the equipment used for a communication. In addition, companies offering community repeaters and trunk links must be able to submit information on the services they provided.6
This administrative agreement further requires companies to store the relevant information for up to 12 months, subject to requests from the police or prosecutors preceding a warrant. Once one of these entities requests a warrant, a judge can order a variety of actions, such as the immediate delivery of information contained in the systems, the preservation of the information and integrity of the systems for up to 90 prorogue days, access to the system, the extraction of the information, denial of access to the information, or any other applicable measure necessary to obtain and preserve the data.7
Under the 2010 Law on the Prevention, Investigation, and Prosecution of Organized Crime, service providers are required to design their systems in a way that would facilitate surveillance.8 The law also requires companies to maintain a record of their users that can be accessed by authorities investigating or prosecuting a crime.9
Between July and December 2022, Facebook received one emergency request from the Nicaraguan government to disclose information on three accounts; some data was granted in response to the request.10
- 1“Law on Access to Public Information,” Legislacion Asemblea, May 16, 2007, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/Normaweb.nsf/($All)/675A94FF2EBFEE91….
- 2Renata Avila, “Mapping Central American Digital Rights,” Medium, May 17, 2018, https://avilarenata.medium.com/mapa-centroamericano-de-actores-y-temas-…
- 3IPANDETEC, “Quién Defiende Tus Datos? [Who Defends Your Data?],” accessed on July 27, 2021, https://www.ipandetec.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/QDTD-nicaragua-202…
- 4Legal Norms of Nicaragua, “LEY DE PROTECCIÓN DE DATOS PERSONALES [LAW ON THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL DATA],” March 29, 2012, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/9e314815a08d4a620625726…
- 5IPANDETEC, “Quién Defiende Tus Datos? [Who Defends Your Data?],” accessed on July 27, 2021, https://www.ipandetec.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/QDTD-nicaragua-202…
- 6Legal Norms of Nicaragua “NORMATIVA PARA LA PRESERVACIÓN DE DATOS E INFORMACIÓN ACUERDO ADMINISTRATIVO N°. 001-2021 [REGULATIONS FOR THE PRESERVATION OF DATA AND INFORMATION ADMINISTRATIVE AGREEMENT No. 001 2021],” January 29, 2021, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/Normaweb.nsf/($All)/8D9C9ECE6ED36D33…
- 7Legal Norms of Nicaragua, “LEY ESPECIAL DE CIBERDELITOS [SPECIAL ACT cybercrimes],” October 30, 2020, http://legislacion.asamblea.gob.ni/normaweb.nsf/($All)/803E7C7FBCF44D77…
- 8Katitza Rodriguez, “Comparative Analysis of Surveillance Laws and Practices in Latin America,” Necessary&Proportionate, October 2016, https://necessaryandproportionate.org/comparative-analysis-surveillance….
- 9Diego Silva, “Desde ahora el régimen de Daniel Ortega controlará las interconexiones y acceso, las instalaciones, operaciones de redes y aspectos jurídicos de las empresas de telecomunicaciones [From now on, Daniel Ortega's regime will control interconnections and access, facilities, network operations and legal aspects of telecommunications companies],” Despach 505, May 19, 2020, https://www.despacho505.com/regimen-amplia-control-sobre-operadores-de-….
- 10Facebook Transparency Report, “Government Requests for User Data: Nicaragua,” June 2022, https://transparency.fb.com/data/government-data-requests/country/NI.
|Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in relation to their online activities?||2.002 5.005|
Internet users, and journalists in particular, have been subjected to intimidation and physical assaults in connection with their online activity. Torture and ill-treatment in detention is common. According to the Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners, at least 46 political prisoners remained detained in Nicaragua as of May 2023.1
In its March 2023 report, the GHREN stated that it has documented more than 100 cases of individuals and their relatives who were subjected to intimidation and harassment—not limited to online activities—by the police and other regime-aligned groups since April 2018.2
Individuals imprisoned by the regime are often subjected to poor conditions in detention. One political prisoner released in February 2023, Isaías Martínez Rivas, who ran a digital media outlet, described being held in a cell with 12 other people who harassed him and stole his personal belongings.3 Reports have documented malnutrition among political prisoners,4 while others have described the isolation prisoners are subjected to as a form of psychological torture.5
Carlos Salinas, a journalist who had worked for El País and the news site Confidencial, had to leave the country in 2018 and now lives in exile in Mexico. In an interview with El País, he noted that the government used his homosexuality to spread defamatory claims about him on social media.6 He explained that regime supporters altered pictures of men to support assertions that he had physically abused his partners. Before leaving the country, Salinas said he was at times confined to his home due to the danger of physical violence while authorities decimated his reputation online.7
US–Austrian freelance journalist Carl David Goette-Luciak similarly endured extralegal intimidation while working in Nicaragua in 2018. Doxing, calls for violence against him, and the use of bots to share such messages were among the methods reportedly employed to threaten him.8 He was eventually arrested and deported in October 2018.9
Online dissidents report that, in addition to receiving threats, they and their relatives commonly face police intimidation, as do loved ones of those living in exile.10 In February 2022, while raiding the home of María Flordeliz Ordóñez, a journalist for independent digital outlet Notimatv, police beat and threatened Ordóñez’s husband while questioning her about her reporting.11 Critical users have also reported being beaten during arrests in an effort by police to make them hand over passwords of seized cell phones.12
- 1Gaston Calvo, “El régimen de Ortega mantiene a 46 presos políticos en Nicaragua tras la escalada represiva de Semana Santa [The Ortega regime holds 46 political prisoners in Nicaragua after the repressive escalation of Holy Week],” Infobae, May 18, 2023, https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2023/05/18/el-regimen-de….
- 2Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua, “Report of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua,” OHCHR, p. 14, March 2, 2023, https://www.ohchr.org/en/hr-bodies/hrc/ghre-nicaragua/index.
- 3“Nicaraguan opponents narrate torture in prison,” Reforma, February 22, 2023, https://www.reforma.com/narran-opositores-nicaraguenses-tortura-en-carc….
- 4“Nicaragua: urgen medicinas y alimentos para presos politicos [Nicaragua: medicine and food are urgently needed for political prisoners],” DW, September 2, 2022, https://www.dw.com/es/exigen-medicinas-y-alimentaci%C3%B3n-sana-para-op…; “Ortega impone ‘política de hambre’ contra presos políticos en El Chipote [Ortega imposes ‘hunger policy’ against political prisoners in El Chipote],” Confidencial, August 29, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/principal/ortega-impone-politica-de-hambre….
- 5María Lilly Delgado and Tifani Roberts, “’Tortura blanca’, el método que los Ortega-Murillo emplean sistemáticamente contra sus opositores [‘White torture,’ the method that the Ortega-Murillos systematically use against their opponents],” Divergentes, August 30, 2022, https://www.divergentes.com/tortura-blanca-el-metodo-que-los-ortega-mur….
- 6Juan Cruz, “Nicaragua, violentamente silenciada [Nicaragua, violently silenced],” El País, April 19, 2021, https://elpais.com/internacional/2021-04-18/nicaragua-violentamente-sil…
- 7Carlos Salinas Maldonado, “After a year of protest in Nicaragua, Ortega’s crackdown on the media continues,” Amnesty International, May 3, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/05/after-year-protest-nicar… .
- 8“Online smear campaign targets freelance reporter in Nicaragua,” Committee to Protect Journalists, September 25, 2018, https://cpj.org/2018/09/online-smear-campaign-targets-freelance-reporte…
- 9“Nicaragua: Arrest and deportation of US-Austrian journalist shows escalating pressure on press freedom,” Article 19, October 3, 2018, https://www.article19.org/resources/nicaragua-arrest-and-deportation-of…; “Nicaragua deports reporter who covered anti-Ortega protests,” The Guardian, October 2, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/02/nicaragua-deports-reporte….
- 10Interviews with two journalists, one satirist, and one social media user known for their criticism of the state, conducted in June 2022.
- 11“Otra periodista abandona Nicaragua por seguridad y ya van 120 exiliados [Another journalist leaves Nicaragua for safety and there are already 120 exiles],” Swiss Info, March 1, 2022, https://www.swissinfo.ch/spa/nicaragua-prensa_otra-periodista-abandona-…
- 12Interview with Kevin Monzon, conducted in June 2022.
|Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack?||1.001 3.003|
Independent media outlets in Nicaragua have been subjected to cyberattacks since the 2018 protests.1 Independent outlets remain at risk from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and hacking, as well as less sophisticated forms of cyberattacks.
In recent years, Confidencial and the newspapers La Prensa and Hoy have reportedly faced DDoS attacks, which prevented legitimate users from accessing their coverage. At the beginning of the protests in April 2018, for example, an attack on La Prensa‘s website was detected and thwarted, but a parallel attack aimed at Confidencial left it inaccessible for seven hours. The perpetrators were not identified, but some suspected state actors.2 In May 2019, La Prensa’s website experienced a DDoS attack that successfully disabled it for more than 24 hours.3
In January 2022, online newspaper Confidencial reported the hacking of a WhatsApp account it used to send alerts and receive complaints from readers. Some readers reported receiving pornographic images following the hack, though Confidencial denies that the hacker had access to dissemination lists or data on its readers.4 Users also reported receiving messages with sexual content from a WhatsApp account belonging to outlet BacanalNica, which was also hacked.5 Digital outlet Artículo 66 also reported attempts to hack their WhatsApp account around this time, amounting to 12 daily attempts over a period lasting 20 to 25 days.6 The same month, 100% Noticias’s Twitter account was also hacked by alleged progovernment forces.7
During the coverage period, in November 2022, Confidencial’s YouTube channel was temporarily suspended by the platform after it was hacked as part of an apparent cryptocurrency scam.8 The outlet was able to recover its video catalogue following the hack, and access to the channel was fully restored one day later, after YouTube completed an investigation.9
Governmental entities have also been subject to cyberattacks, which are commonly linked to the hacktivist group Anonymous. In August 2020, the group claimed credit for an attack on the COVID-19 database of the Ministry of Health, which allowed the public to see that the government had been providing misleading information about the virus’s spread and publicizing inaccurate counts of COVID-19 infections in the country.10 Since 2018, Anonymous has also struck the websites of entities such as the Central Bank of Nicaragua, the Ministry of Finance and its Financial Analysis Unit, the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism, the National Assembly, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Civil Aviation Authority, among others, while also targeting government-linked media outlets like Canal 6.11
In November 2022, authorities announced that Nicaragua and Russia had signed a cybersecurity cooperation plan for 2022–26.12 This was followed by a memorandum of understanding focused on responding to cybersecurity incidents signed between TELCOR and Russian authorities in May 2023.13 In September 2020, the government approved a National Cybersecurity Strategy by decree.14
- 1InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, “Annual Report 2019– Chapter IV: Nicaragua,” accessed on July 27, 2021, http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/annual/2019/docs/IA2019cap4BNI-en.docx; Human Rights Watch, “Brutal represión Torturas, tratos crueles y juicios fraudulentos contra manifestantes y opositores en Nicaragua [Brutal repression Torture, cruel treatment and fraudulent trials against protesters and opponents in Nicaragua],” July 19, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/es/report/2019/06/20/brutal-represion/torturas-trat…
- 2“Cyber attack on Nicaraguan media brings IAPA protest,” Sociedad Interamericas de Prensa, April 25, 2018, https://en.sipiapa.org/notas/1212343-cyber-attack-on-nicaraguan-media-b….
- 3“Joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council, on the Universal Periodic Review 33rd Session for Nicaragua,” Access Now, accessed on July 27, 2021, https://www.accessnow.org/cms/assets/uploads/2018/10/UPR-Nicaragua-digi… ; “Nicaragua: 11,000 Bots Slam La Prensa in ‘A Direct Attack,’ Voice of America, May 6, 2019, https://www.voanews.com/world-press-freedom/nicaragua-11000-bots-slam-l….
- 4“Confidencial denuncia hackeo a su número de Whatsapp [Confidential denounces hacking of his Whatsapp number],” Nicaragua Investiga, January 6, 2022, https://nicaraguainvestiga.com/politica/71610-confidencial-denuncia-hac….
- 5“Cuenta WhatsApp de Confidencial, Bacanal Nica y Canal 10 fueron hackeadas [WhatsApp account of Confidencial, Bacanal Nica and Canal 10 were hacked],” 100% Noticias, January 7, 2022, https://100noticias.com.ni/nacionales/112424-whatsapp-medios-comunicaci…;
- 6“La verdad del regimen zanahoria a propagandistas y palo a independientes [The truth of the carrot regime to propagandists and stick to independents],” Expediente Publico, March 23, 2022, https://www.expedientepublico.org/la-verdad-del-regimen-zanahoria-a-pro….
- 7“Hackean cuenta de Twitter de medio independiente 100% Noticias [Twitter account of independent media outlet 100% hacked],” Zeta Panama, February 2, 2022, https://zeta.com.pa/29226-hackean-cuenta-de-twitter-de-medio-independie….
- 8“Canal de Confidencial en YouTube suspendido temporalmente. ¡Pronto regresamos! [Confidencial channel on YouTube temporarily suspended. We will be back soon!],” Confidencial, November 14, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/nacion/canal-de-confidencial-en-youtube-su….
- 9“Canal de Confidencial en YouTube ya está en línea y reanuda sus transmisiones [Confidencial channel on YouTube is now online and resumes its broadcasts],” Confidencial, November 15, 2022, https://confidencial.digital/nacion/canal-de-confidencial-en-youtube-ya….
- 10Jake Kincaid, “Anonymous hack exposes Nicaraguan government secret COVID-19 data,” Miami Herald, August 28, 2020, https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article245…
- 11“Anonymous ataca el principal portal informativo del Gobierno de Nicaragua [Anonymous attacks the main information portal of the Government of Nicaragua],” April 30, 2018, https://elpais.com/internacional/2018/04/29/america/1525030479_560246.h… ; “’This Is Just The Beginning’: Anonymous Begins Attack On Nicaragua Institutions,” Today Nicaragua, May 14, 2020, https://todaynicaragua.com/this-is-just-the-beginning-anonymous-begins-…
- 12“Nicaragua y Rusia: plan de cooperación en ciberseguridad [Nicaragua and Russia: cybersecurity cooperation plan],” DW, November 24, 2022, https://www.dw.com/es/nicaragua-y-rusia-plan-de-cooperaci%C3%B3n-en-cib….
- 13“Nicaragua y Rusia firman memorándum sobre seguridad informática [Nicaragua and Russia sign memorandum about cybersecurity],” DPL News, May 26, 2023, https://dplnews.com/nicaragua-y-rusia-firman-memorandum-sobre-seguridad….
- 14“Nicaragua adopta por decreto política de ciberseguridad que controla las redes sociales [Nicaragua adopts cybersecurity policy by decree that controls social networks]”, El Comercio, September 29, 2020, https://www.elcomercio.com/actualidad/mundo/nicaragua-decreto-control-r…; “Nicaragua raises alarm with repressive draft laws,” Financial Times, October 4, 2020, https://www.ft.com/content/2c0ed64d-db7b-4bd4-acd1-61a978da9f84.
See all data, scores & information on this country or territory.See More
Global Freedom Score19 100 not free
Internet Freedom Score42 100 partly free
Freedom in the World StatusNot Free