AGSTAR Photojournalism

Monday, August 07, 2006

CENSORSHIP

The Sandinista City Government of Managua has had a running battle with LA PRENSA. The latest bout has been the construction of a highway underpass intersecting the Masaya Highway, one with the highest automobile traffic density in the city, if not the nation. The construction project has been plagued by mismanagement and cost overruns. The promised date for its opening to the public has been missed several times, and investigations by LA PRENSA have shown that the underpass is seriously flawed and poses a threat to motorist who dare use it.

Every time we go and get pictures of the construction site we always get hassled by the guards of the city government. This is not uncommon at any public place here, but this city government has really turned up the pressure. Today it was my turn.

Usually since I am a big fellow I let them try to intervene. My flash point though, is when they touch the front element of my lense. That is when politely but firmly I tell them that they are not allowed to touch my equipment. A scuffling match followed and my repeated complaints that this is a public space and that it is built by public funds, and that I have a constitutional right to take these pictures come to no avail, while at the same time I kept firing away with my camera. The man on the left was quite mad, and he continually tried to grab my gear. The man on the right was more relaxed and he lamely tried to explain that he was only doing his job, just following orders. (sounds familiar?)

In the end I got my shots and there was nothing they could really do to stop me from doing my job. Got a nice couple pics of them too, trying to obstruct me. Which is the only other thing you can do in a situation like this.

here are the pics.



The city government security guards rush in to stop me from trying to take pictures of the latest damage to the Masaya Highway Underpass. It was supposed to be partially open today but they managed to rupture a water main that passes next to the underpass. Foto LA PRENSA/Tomas Stargardter - Copyright/LA PRENSA-Tomas Stargardter



The security guard on the left reaches for my camera and grabs the front element of my lense. That really pissed me off. Foto LA PRENSA/Tomas Stargardter - Copyright/LA PRENSA-Tomas Stargardter



I take his hand and remove it from my camera and a shoving and shouting match ensues. Foto LA PRENSA/Tomas Stargardter - Copyright/LA PRENSA-Tomas Stargardter



In the end I get my picture. Foto LA PRENSA/Tomas Stargardter - Copyright/LA PRENSA-Tomas Stargardter

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