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Fri Jul 27, 2018, 01:35 AM

Guardian slammed for 'wildly inaccurate coverage' in open letter signed by 28 academics, journalists [View all]

Guardian slammed for ‘wildly inaccurate coverage’ in open letter signed by 28 academics, journalists and activists


In an open letter, 28 academics, journalists and activists have slammed the Guardian for its “wildly inaccurate coverage of Nicaragua”. And for one human rights lawyer who signed the letter, this forms part of “the greatest misinformation campaign” he has ever witnessed.

Political tensions in Nicaragua
As The Canary has previously reported, Nicaragua has been convulsed by protests against the government of President Daniel Ortega since April. The demonstrations began over a government proposal to partially reform the country’s social security system, which was met with public outcry from across the political spectrum. The government withdrew the plans, but by then the mobilization had morphed into a broader movement calling for either Ortega’s resignation or the calling of early elections, which are currently scheduled for 2021. Opponents of the government claim that Ortega’s government has become increasingly “authoritarian” and that he has been attempting to establish a political dynasty. But others, including award-winning journalist Max Blumenthal, have argued that public unrest has been cynically seized upon by upper-class and Washington-backed opponents of Ortega, who have long held the objective of forcing him from office.

Either way, the protests have become increasingly violent and confrontational, and have in turn been met with a robust response from state forces which are attempting to contain the upheaval. Street battles have ensued between opposing sides. But while there have certainly been recorded incidents of violence on the part of both pro- and anti-government factions, most of the Western press has focused almost exclusively on the opposition’s stance (that the government’s response to rioting has been disproportionate, if not outright repressive) without giving sufficient attention to incidents of violence on the part of the opposition.

“Wildly inaccurate coverage” from the Guardian
An open letter on Max Blumenthal’s Grayzone website has now called the Guardian out for consistently placing the blame for Nicaragua’s violence primarily on the Ortega government. The letter – which has 28 signatories from across the worlds of journalism, political activism and academia – states that:

despite plentiful evidence of opposition violence, almost all your 17 reports since mid-April blame Daniel Ortega’s government for the majority of deaths that have occurred


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