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 / 17 DEC 2020

As El Salvador battles widespread allegations of fraud during the coronavirus pandemic, its most senior police official is now accused…

EL SALVADOR / 30 OCT 2018

What causes thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to march through Mexico in a caravan toward the…

EL SALVADOR / 25 OCT 2015

The name “Raul Mijango” annoys a significant portion of society, but an undeniable fact remains: few people know Salvadoran gangs…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…