Mongabay's bad faith reporting on Nicaragua
Stephen Sefton, Tortilla con Sal, February 26th 2022
Late last year, John Perry a regular
contributor commenting on Central American affairs to many
leading web sites such as the London Review of Books, the
Council on Hemispheric Affairs and the Grayzone among many
others asked me for sources and information for an article he
was writing at the invitation of the Mongabay web site which
specializes in environmental issues. John's article questioned
the version of events in Nicaragua in previous articles
published by Mongabay in relation to the reality of life for
indigenous people in Nicaragua's Autonomous Caribbean Regions. In the end, to John's surprise, Mongabay rejected
some unique, first-hand reporting from the Caribbean region
concerned, preferring Mongabay's own reporting from a writer
based in Mexico who appears to have completely ignored any
evidence that contradicted his claims.
While it's not possible to quote directly from the private
e-mail exchange between John Perry and Latoya Abulu, I can
publish my own request of January 22nd this year to Abulu for
more information about the clear double standards she and
Mongabay applied to John Perry's article compared to their
faithless complacency towards the original article by a Mongabay
I received no reply to this request. People can draw their own
conclusions about how that reflects on Mongabay's commitment to
transparency and accountability.
I coordinate the Tortilla con Sal Web site which focuses mainly on Nicaragua
the site is financially independent but politically we support the
Sandinista Front for National Liberation
John Perry has informed me that you rejected an article he wrote
for Mongabay contradicting the version of the August 23rd
Kiwakumbai massacre of in Maxwell Radine's article in
Mongabay of October 13th as well as Radine's framing of the
context in which the massacre occurred
as it happens, I was already writing an article about the collapse
of reporting and editorial standards in material published by
Western NGOs and media and how that feeds into misguided Western
institutional and governmental policy so I'd
very much appreciate your help answering the following questions
* am I correct to assume that Mongabay is committed to
transparency on behalf of
its readers and in its editorial policy?
* if so, can I quote from your e-mail exchange with John Perry?
* why did Radine not use in his October 13th article any media
sources regarded as pro-government? Radine's article uses
exclusively as media sources either reports from media aligned
with the US government funded opposition (in the case of
Confidencial and 100% Noticias both funded by the US government
run National Endowment for Democracy) or else news agency reports
based on those same
opposition aligned media sources...
* why does Radine's article offer no independent sources to
corroborate his account? His non-media sources are either
anonymous, vague, or, like Fundación
del Río, clearly identified with Nicaragua's political opposition.
* why did Radine's October 13th article exclude the only on site
reports of the massacre at Kiwakumbai? In September, I published
the only on site video report
in English on the massacre at Kiwakumbai
as well as two interviews in Spanish with the local mayor.
Similarly myself and Canal TN8's Jimmy Altamirano published the
only on site reports on the massacre in Spanish
* is Mongabay aware that Radine's version of the overall context
of Nicaragua's Northern Caribbean Autonomous Region is
categorically contradicted by extensive
first hand interviews with indigenous people's elected leaders?
* how do you respond to the criticism that you have applied a
double standard by publishing Radine's one-sided, selectively
sourced account of local indigenous people's role in the massacre
at Kiwakumbai while rejecting Perry's more broadly
sourced article challenging that account?
I intend to publish an article referring to this matter from February 7th onwards
I look forward to hearing from you