Guatemala has a long history of corruption. Journalists who report on this are often met with threats and physical violence. But digital news platform Nómada does not buckle under and exposes corruption and embezzlement with powerful stories. Free Press Unlimited provides financial support for additional safety measures.

The Nómada journalists want to enable Guatemalans to call the elite to account. To that end, they carry out independent journalistic research. In this way, they discovered how parliamentarians conspired to side-line High Electoral Council with new rules. This council was established in 2015 in response to the population’s demand for more transparency in the electoral process.

Nómada published secret recordings and with the critical eyes of millions of Guatemalans and the international community focused on them, the parliamentarians had to back down. The motion was withdrawn.

Security measures keep Nómada in the air

With its bold approach, every month Nómada’s website attracts 600,000 visitors; mainly young people, but also politicians, policy makers and CEOs.

It became obvious that not everyone was happy with the growing attention for Nómada’s revelations when the website was hacked and blocked in 2017. The private tweets of the editor ended up on the street. After a security assessment was carried out by, among others, a UN body, the editorial team was advised to take measures to protect itself.

With financial support from Free Press Unlimited, the Nómada editorial team improved its security. They now have bullet-proof glass, an armoured car, extra security for the website and are trained in digital security.

That is not an unnecessary luxury in a country in which 19 journalists have been violently killed since 2013. Authorities are slow to check whether these murders are related to journalistic activities, which in turn results in impunity and self-censorship of journalists.

Nómada’s thorough investigative journalism offers the citizens of Guatemala an insight into the often corrupt politics and forces those in power to be accountable. With general elections coming up in 2019, this information could influence their decisions at the ballot box. It is a serious responsibility for the Nómada journalists, which they must be able to carry out without risking their own lives.