HomeNewsBriefEl Salvador Official Levels Terrorism Accusations Against Newspaper
BRIEF

El Salvador Official Levels Terrorism Accusations Against Newspaper

EL SALVADOR / 14 JAN 2016 BY ELISE DITTA EN

In a concerning development for press freedom in El Salvador, a top police official has called for the investigation of newspaper El Diario de Hoy on terrorism-related charges in response to a series of articles on the country's street gangs.

In a letter to El Salvador's Attorney General's Office (Fiscalía General de la República, - FGR), head of police investigations Joaquín Hernández urged Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy be investigated for being "apologists of terrorist acts," reported La Pagina. (See below)

16-01-13-ElSalvador-FGRletter

Hernández's accusations arise in response to a series of articles El Diario de Hoy published in December 2015 on El Salvador's street gangs.

One of the articles, titled "Gangs Control San Salvador," portrays El Salvador's capital-city as a gang-controlled battleground, and includes both a video and map detailing gang territory in the city. (See below) In another, "A Clique Controls the San Jacinto Neighborhood," El Diario writes, "The police do not escape gang control. In fact, they may be the most controlled."

In his letter to the FGR, Hernández calls the El Diario articles inaccurate, saying they give the impression "the capital is totally controlled by these criminal groups," and do not recognize the work of the FGR and police towards "preventing and repressing crime." This, Hernández argues, "magnifies" the gangs' presence in these areas, provoking "fear and terror" among the population, "which already lives terrorized by crime."

InSight Crime Analysis

Hernández's accusations against El Diario de Hoy follow an August 2015 decision by the Salvadoran Supreme Court to reclassify the Barrio 18 and MS13 as terrorist organizations, which the court held the gangs deserved for their systematic and organized used of violence.

Yet, in addition to gang members, the court's ruling categorized gang "collaborators, apologists, and financiers" as terrorists. It appears as if Hernández is suggesting El Diaro de Hoy falls into this category as a result of their reporting on gangs. Under El Salvador's terrorism law (pdf), those convicted of such a crime may face up to 10 years in prison.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador News and Profiles

To be sure, Hernández is entitled to dispute the newspaper's coverage of the country's street gangs. But calling for an investigation of El Diario de Hoy under the country's terrorism laws is something different altogether, and raises concerns the laws may be abused by government officials to censor any press coverage or critiques of the country's deteriorating security situation deemed unfavorable.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

EL SALVADOR / 15 OCT 2013

Authorities in El Salvador have released findings from an investigation into the Texis Cartel, revealing a diverse network of criminal…

EL SALVADOR / 15 FEB 2018

Dany Balmore Romero García was sitting in class at a vocational college in El Salvador when he got a message…

BARRIO 18 / 9 APR 2015

Homicide levels in El Salvador have slowly increased since the middle of 2013 and have reached levels similar to those…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…