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Nicaraguans hit out at press freedom award for US-backed "fake news" outlet

NICARAGUANS hit out at a decision to grant a US-funded media organisation which agitates for regime change a press freedom award today, accusing it of being a propaganda machine for Washington.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) came under fire after it announced that Confidencial Nicaragua would be presented with a prize for independence in its 2019 Press Freedom Awards.

It follows the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists handing a similar award to opposition journalist Miguel Mora, who has incited violence against Sandinista supporters and called for President Daniel Ortega to be killed.

Berrios Mechu told the Star that the award was “an unfunny joke” saying that Confidencial has “no morals and does not know what true journalism is.”

“This is just another imperialist puppet receiving a useless, meaningless award for their anti-left propaganda,” she said.

Ana Maria Torez said the award should be for “fake news” accusing the outlet of “promoting hatred among Nicaraguans and encouraging the destruction of our country.”

Confidencial Nicaragua is often portrayed as a brave, independent news organisation run by a small editorial team in opposition to Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

But it is in fact owned by the country’s wealthy and influential Chamorro family and bankrolled by the National Endowment for Democracy.

The Chamorro family has a long-standing and complex political history in Nicaragua. Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, an editor of La Prensa and staunch opponent of the Somoza dictatorship, was killed in 1978.

But the conservative Violeta Chamorro split from the Sandinista movement when it adopted more socialist policies, and, backed by the US, became the country’s first woman president in 1990.

Confidencial has received consistent backing from Washington including a $390,000 (£320,420) grant to Mr Chamorro’s NGO, the Communication Research Centre (Cinco).

It is accused of peddling “fake news” to undermine Mr Ortega.

RSF has itself come under fire for accepting funds from organisations including the Open Society Institute and the Centre for a Free Cuba, along with NED.

The Morning Star submitted a list of questions to RSF including who made the decision to award the prize, how the decision was made and whether the organisation was in receipt of funds from organisations including NED.

They had not responded to the Star at the time of writing.


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