Miami (December 7, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) deemed a million-dollar lawsuit against El Diario de Hoy in El Salvador and one of its journalists to be intimidating. The organization condemned the disproportionate legal harassment that violates Inter-American standards protecting freedom of the press.
Businessman Yakov Fauster is demanding five million dollars in compensation from Editorial Altamirano Madriz S.A. de C.V, the publisher of El Diario de Hoy, and the same amount from its journalist Jorge Beltrán Luna, as reparation for alleged moral damages. The case is related to the reproduction, in an article signed by Beltrán on January 14, 2022, of several paragraphs from a journalistic investigation by the Mexican magazine Proceso about cyber espionage companies, in which Fauster's name appears as the owner of one of them.
IAPA President Roberto Rock expressed that the "judicial and economic harassment in this case violates fundamental principles of press freedom that should prevail in a democracy." Rock, director of Mexico's news portal La Silla Rota, added that the meager compensation sought by the plaintiff aims to strangle the media and the journalist financially."
The businessman rejected the published information as false and demanded the newspaper allow him to exercise his right of reply, which was granted on February 6. Unsatisfied with this, he initiated a judicial rectification process that resulted in an order for the newspaper to publish a second letter, released on April 2, 2022, after which the ruling was considered fulfilled. However, in June of this year, Fauster initiated the lawsuit process.
The President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, added that "these actions are intended to intimidate and seek the effect of self-censorship." Jornet, the editor of Argentina's La Voz del Interior newspaper, recalled that in a resolution of the IAPA, approved at its recent annual assembly in Mexico City, it urged "the courts of El Salvador to consider the 2004 jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the "Mauricio Herrera Ulloa Vs. Costa Rica" case, which exempts the media from liability for publishing content from other media, rejecting a conviction for defamation that violated the right to freedom of expression."
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.