Media legislation

The media of Nicaragua are regulated by Law No 200, known as General Law on Telecommunications and Postal Services, approved by the Parliament on 21 July, 1995. The law has three chapters, ten titles, and a single chapter on transitory and final provisions. The purpose is to regulate telecommunications and postal services and to establish the rights and duties of users and operators, in appropriate and safe environments. The law is oriented to guarantee the planned development of telecommunications, efficient postal services, the promotion of technological innovation and to guarantee availability and access to the radioelectric spectrum. Law No 200 also covers the regulation of radio and television frequencies, of phone companies, postal services and satellites. Through the law, the officials of the Instituto Nicaragüense de Telecomunicaciones y Correos (Nicaraguan Institute of Telecommunications and Mail - TELCOR), a government institution that regulates and controls communications, are empowered to issue, suspend or withdraw any radio or television frequency, once an administrative process was exhausted. However, this law has been criticised by different sectors because of the influence in its application by the political party in power. In 2018, it has been used to close and confiscate an all-news channel that was critical to the government of Daniel Ortega. At least four radio stations have also been closed between 2015 and 2018.

Another law that has to do with the media is Law No 621, called Ley de Acceso a La Información Pública (Law on Access to Public Information - LAIP), which was approved in June 2007. The LAIP establishes the criteria for media and citizens to access the information handled by state institutions and that public officials can provide reports and interviews about the work of the institutions they represent. Media outside government control have criticised that, throughout ten years of Daniel Ortega's government (2007-2017), the law has not been fulfilled because officials do not provide information to the population and media that are not controlled by the government find all doors closed. In the introduction of the LAIP it is established "that the Law of Access to Public Information promotes the responsibility of public officials to provide the information and submit and expose the scrutiny of citizens, information regarding public management and the management of public resources entrusted to it, as established in article 131 of the Political Constitution of Nicaragua.” Yet, despite the demands of the population to access public information, all the above is not fulfilled, as documented by the digital platform Right to Ask, run by the Fundación Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation - FVBCH).