Nicaragua blocks Spanish-language CNN from air amid government crackdown

·1-min read

(Reuters) - Nicaragua's government suspended CNN's Spanish-language service from all cable channels in the Central American country, the television station said Thursday.

U.S.-based 'CNN en Espanol' was the only remaining outlet critical of President Daniel Ortega available to Nicaraguans.

In one recent program, the network interviewed a former Nicaraguan judiciary official exiled in the United States.

"Today the Government of Nicaragua took down our television signal, denying Nicaraguans news and information from our network, which they have trusted for more than 25 years," the network, owned by Warner Bros Discovery Inc, said in a statement.

Reuters was unable to reach the government for comment.

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Pedro Vaca, said that the network's suspension merited international condemnation.

"Censorship in Nicaragua has reached a critical point," Vaca said on his social networks.

No independent media outlets operate in Nicaragua. In recent weeks, multiple religious and community radio stations have been shut down.

More than 200 journalists from the country have gone into exile since 2018, reporting on Nicaragua from Costa Rica, the United States and Europe, according to the Independent Journalists and Communicators of Nicaragua group.

The last to leave were reporters from La Prensa, the country's oldest newspaper, who temporarily reported semi-clandestinely for the website, after the print newspaper was shut down more than a year ago.

CNN added that its Spanish-language website will continue to operate in the country via CNNEspanol.com.

"CNN stands behind our network's reporting and reaffirms its commitment to truth and transparency," it said in a statement.

(Reporting by Ismael Lopez Ocampo; Editing by Alistair Bell)