Leading investigative digital news outlet El Faro has removed all content from today’s site to protest the government’s most recent attack on press freedom. For one day only, it has replaced its usual political, national and world news and investigations with a single page calling for an end to censorship, in Spanish and English.
El Faro, which is one of the most respected media sites in Central America and a beacon of investigative journalism into organised crime, corruption and violence in the region, has been the target of a systematic effort to silence its journalism by President Nayib Bukele and his government. Today’s protest follows the government’s passing of penal reforms that will further gag the press.
In the declaration, El Faro states: “The reforms to the Penal Code approved this week by the Bukele-controlled Legislative Assembly are a gag order on the press and freedom of expression, but above all else, an assault on the public’s right to be informed. What should citizens know about El Salvador’s gangs? Nothing, according to the government.” It goes on to explain that the legal changes would silence El Faro’s extensive investigations into the region’s gang culture and deals made with the El Salvadorean government.
In recent years, El Faro has faced a barrage of smear campaigns, wiretaps, threats and false accusations of tax evasion by the government of President Bukele. The news company has also been subjected to multiple wide-ranging audits and accusations of money laundering.
Since winning a landslide election last February, President Bukele has increased the intimidation of El Faro and other individuals and institutions seeking to impose democratic checks on his authority. Read more here.