President of Nicaragua since 2007 (after having served for the first time in 1979-1990)

Predator since his re-election for a third consecutive term, in November 2016

Nicaragua, 121th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

[Your name]
Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at


Stay updated on #DefendPressFreedom

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    PREDATORY METHOD: Economic suffocation and judicial censorship

    Since late 2016, the independent press has been living a nightmare, under constant pressure by the Ortega government and its Sandinista National Liberation Front supporters. They are trying to silence critical voices using a number of tactics: threats, persecution, harassment and defamation campaigns, arbitrary arrests and detentions. A “law to regulate foreign agents” is designed to closely monitor media organisations and groups that receive financing from abroad. Ortega stops at nothing to control information. He has put in place a sordid system of economically choking independent media: Discriminatory policies in awarding government advertising, in granting radio and television frequencies, in limiting the importation of supplies and material. In addition, independent media are subjected to abusive audits, and private advertisers are pressured not to buy space in independent media. In September 2018, the government went so far as to explicitly prohibit the supplying of ink, paper and rubber, leading most of the country’s print newspapers to close. Finally, with an eye to the November 2021 presidential election, Ortega has stepped up information control, launching abusive prosecutions against all oppositionists, both in the political class and the media.

    FAVOURITE TARGETS: The Chamorro family and private media

    Publisher Carlos Chamorro, founder of the Confidencial news site, and his sister, Cristiana, founder of the Violeta Chamorro Foundation, which advocates for freedom of the press, are the president’s major targets. Chamorro, a fierce critic of Ortega, had to seek temporary exile in Costa Rica in 2019, because of threats and attacks fed by the government. Cristiana Chamorro, a journalist who became a presidential candidate in 2021, has been under house arrest since 3 June, on a government charge of money laundering. Nearly 20 journalists close to the foundation have been interrogated and intimidated by the prosecutor’s office, with the aim of legally overwhelming her, and blocking her election campaign.

    OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Paranoid and exaggerated

    “Disinformation terrorism, directed from the United States and taken at face value by media from many countries, especially Costa Rica, is brutal, criminal and xenophobic.” (May 2020, in a speech directed at Costa Rican and American media – La Nación, Telenoticias, Noticias Repretel, CNN) – reviewing government statistics and rhetoric on management of the public health crisis).

    “Journalists are the children of Goebbels.” (28th anniversary of the Nicaraguan Army, 1 September 2007).

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