Nicaragua - Media

Postal, telegraph, and telephone facilities are government-owned. Since 1990, TELCOR, the national communications company, has invested over $100 million on upgrading its facilities. Telephone service is limited to the heavily populated west coast and, except for Managua (where there is an automatic dial system), is inadequate. In 1996 there were 140,000 main telephone lines. In 1997, there were about 7,911 cellular phones in use. Radiotelephone circuits allow communication between the west and east coasts.

In 2001, there were about 117 radio stations and 7 television stations. Radio Católica, a Roman Catholic station, was closed by the government in 1986 but was reopened in 1987 in accordance with the democratic freedoms outlined in the Arias peace plan. The Voice of Nicaragua is the government station. In 2000, there were 270 radios and 69 television sets for every 1,000 people.

There were four daily newspapers in 2002 including El Nuevo Diario, with a circulation of 45,000, and the Barricada with a circulation of 95,000. La Prensa, a harsh critic of Somoza rule and of the Sandinista regime, was closed in 1986 but, in accordance with the Arias peace plan, was allowed to resume publication in 1987; its 2002 circulation was 30,000. Press censorship ended with the departure of the Sandinista government.

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and the press, and the government is said to be supportive of these rights in practice. The privately owned print media and the broadcast media openly discuss diverse viewpoints without government interference.

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