El Salvador


In this period several news media have been the target of harassment by pro-government sectors and deceitful actions in which it is presumed that public officials have participated.

In mid-2015 the newspapers La Prensa Gráfica and El Diario de Hoy were the target of a series of dishonest cloning of their Web sites ­– laprensagrafica.com and elsalvador.com.

The Federal Attorney General's Office began an investigation and in November raided the offices of the company where apparently those attacks were hatched. Then one of the persons allegedly involved was arrested.

On April 5 the Criminal Chamber of Santa Tecla, a high court, backed criminal proceedings against one of those involved, programmer Ricardo Andrés Ortiz Lara, regarded as one of the perpetrators of the attack on La Prensa Gráfica. The preliminary hearing will be held in August.

Suspicion of the participation in the case of San Salvador Mayor Nayib Bukele continues open. One of the defendants, Sofía Medina, is Bukele's communications manager and confidant. New expert opinions are awaited. Of the five defendants four are on conditional release and one of them, José Carlos Navarro, known in the digital world as @Payasosingracia (@Unfunnyclown), continues with his open attacks on La Prensa Gráfica through social media.

The information found in the equipment during the raid shows how the attacks were concocted and the cloning carried out. It was proposed in addition to suspend the two Web sites for six hours.

The San Salvador mayor organized a rally outside the Federal Attorney General's office, where he publicly called on his supporters not to buy La Prensa Gráfica and El Diario de Hoy. He distributed t-shirts with allusive wording that he himself wore, along with several leaders of the government party.

There has been another kind of harassment and discrediting of the two media outlets by pro-government people who used public entities for this purpose.

Journalists with various media have to face all kinds of risks and endanger their lives in covering events in communities ravaged by gangs.

On March 10 journalist Nicolás Humberto García, 23, was murdered in the city of Tacuba, Ahuachapán province, in the west of the country.

According to the authorities alleged gangsters intercepted and attacked García as he was heading to the community radio station where he worked. Police and city officials have been airtight on the case. The investigation is continuing.

The government insists on questioning the media, which it accuses of feeding the perception of an increase in violence, while the police and the Attorney General's Office refuse to provide information on murders. According to data gathered by the media an average of 24 people died in the first three months of the year, the product of violent crimes.

In another incident the El Salvadorean Media Network reported that on February 10 National Civil Police agents seized a camera from one of the teams covering a traffic accident. They then returned it but removed the images. The Police issued a press release apologizing and reiterating its "full respect" for the work of the media.