Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit
Nicaraguan government to centralize information distribution
By Toby Mailman, for NY Transfer News Collective, 5 February 1997
MANAGUA, Feb 4 -- In what is being called an attack on freedom of expression in Nicaragua, the new government announced last week that all public information and publicity from all government agencies will now be filtered through one single source, the government Office of Information.
A government spokesman said the move was not meant to limit information. It was, rather, to improve the presentation of information, given that many government agencies have no personnel properly trained in the area of publicity and information. The role of the Information Office, he said, would be to make sure publicity and information is presented in a professional manner.
At a recent meeting with owners of various Nicaraguan media, Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) Secretary General and parliamentary deputy Daniel Ortega Saavedra said the move to control government information "points to coercion and restricts freedom of expression, and that should be of concern to all Nicaraguans." He asked that the new government suspend the new measures which "affect the work of government spokespersons, journalists, owners of media and publicity agencies."
"The control of publicity and its distribution is the main instrument that the government is using to kill freedom of expression and impose a system of 'domesticated' information," Ortega said, warning that to allow these steps to take hold means moving backward in the struggle for freedom of expression.