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Journalist Is Killed Covering Nicaraguan Protests

Demonstrators hold a candlelight vigil Tuesday in honor of those who have died during anti-government protests in Managua, Nicaragua. The sign reads in Spanish "Justice for the fallen." (Alfredo Zuniga / AP)

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for Nicaraguan authorities to investigate the death of journalist Ángel Eduardo Gahona, who was shot Saturday while covering pension reform protests in which 24 people died, according to local news reports.

Gahona was conducting a Facebook Live feed of the protests in the eastern port city of Bluefields when he was killed. A video from the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa shows Gahona approaching an ATM and describing damage to the glass doors before being shot and collapsing.

“Nicaraguan authorities must immediately conduct a transparent investigation into the killing of Ángel Eduardo Gahona,” said CPJ program director Carlos Martínez de la Serna. “Independent journalists in Nicaragua should not pay the ultimate price for informing people about issues of national importance.”

Ileana Lacayo Ortíz, a journalist and activist in Bluefields who helped organize the protest and was close by when Gahona was shot, told CPJ it was difficult to tell who fired at him, but she believes it was the police. “I didn’t see any of the youth with a gun,” Lacayo told CPJ. “It had to come from the police or riot police.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists continues:

Gahona’s wife Migueliuth Sandoval, who worked with him as a reporter for El Meridiano, told CPJ that her husband left home around 5:00 p.m. on April 21 to cover protests that continued after an anti-government march organized by local activists ended.

Sandoval said that she and her husband decided he should broadcast the police and protester confrontations via Facebook Live because local television channels were being censored or disconnected by the government. Nicaraguan authorities have cracked down on coverage of the protests and independent media outlets, censoring news broadcasts and blocking television broadcasts, as multiple journalists have been injured while covering the protests, CPJ has documented.

Truthdig columnist Sonali Kolhatkar reported on the Nicaraguan protests in a video post Monday:

Emily Wells
​Emily Wells is an Ear to the Ground blogger at Truthdig. As a journalist, she began as a crime reporter at the Pulitzer-winning daily newspaper, The Press-Enterprise...
Emily Wells

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