The Voice of America unequivocally denounces the Nicaraguan government’s decision to cancel the operating license of Radio Dario, a VOA and USAGM affiliate. The Nicaraguan Telecommunications Institute, TELCOR, announced the cancellation via a letter to our affiliate. The letter states that “an on-site inspection at the facilities of this Radio, verified that its transmission studios do not correspond to those authorized by the license” and that the “facilities in which it must operate, have been modified and altered,” as the main justifications for pulling the station’s license.
Aníbal Toruño, Director of Radio Dario, believes that the TELCOR decision is political. He told VOA that his radio station has fulfilled the legal operational requirements. “I had reports that they had to find any justification for their resolution, and they invented technical issues with no basis.”
Radio Darío is one of the oldest and most recognized radio stations in Nicaragua, broadcasting for more than 70 years. It is one of the few independent media outlets that dare to criticize the current Ortega administration’s actions and policies. We are alarmed that our affiliate is the subject of this type of intimidation. We believe that this action restricts the free flow of news and information to the citizens of Nicaragua and undermines press freedom in the country.
Similarly to the current situation at Radio Dario, in the last two months alone the Nicaraguan government revoked the licenses of 17 media outlets. In addition, the Ortega government's systematic campaign against independent media resulted in 136 journalists fleeing the country to Costa Rica since 2018, including VOA's correspondents who left the country in December 2021.