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 staff writer.

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

stephen sefton"