Impact | Negative
Civicus Rating | Obstructed
On November 12, the plenary session of the National Assembly approved the final report prepared by the Special Committee that investigated harassment of journalists by the Executive Branch. It identifies as the main culprits the President himself, Nayib Bukele, the Press Secretary of the Presidency, Ernesto Sanabria, and the president of the Autonomous Port Executive Committee (CEPA, in Spanish), Federico Anliker.
The legislators who form part of the committee heard the testimonies of journalists from digital and written media, independent journalists and representatives of the Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES, in Spanish). The approved report points to not only harassment by the Executive Branch of media that has been critical of the administration, but also the blocking of access to public information and the use of public resources, such as government accounts in social media and arbitrary tax audits by the Ministry of Finance, to persecute journalists and opponents. Likewise, the use of cyberspace as an increasingly frequent means of harassment was highlighted. The report’s conclusions also relate to the government’s advertising guidelines for all media, regardless of their political stance, and signal the initiation of an investigation into alleged crimes committed by the Attorney General’s Office. On the other hand, Deputy Emilio Corea (ARENA – opposition) considers it important that the Assembly also approve the bill for the Protection of Journalists in order to offer a legal tool to this group to have protection from harassment.