International News Agency Voice of Diaspora, composed of Salvadoran journalists residing in the five continents, expresses high concern at recent events in clear violation of the Freedom of the Press and disrespect for the dignity and work of journalists in El Salvador.
The decision to block or prevent access of journalists to press conferences of the government is not only an attack against freedom of expression; but it is also a reckless action and unwise to continue the construction of the young democracy in El Salvador.
For journalists, prevent access to information to be provided by the government on its activities, It is an attempt to silence the press questions and criticizes the work of the new government.
Full respect for freedom of expression is a fundamental right and a precondition for the development of democratic societies. Is a human right to which everyone should enjoy without any restriction. As established in art. 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, principles which are then reflected in the Art. 6 of our Constitution of El Salvador.
Freedom of Expression is, also, "A prerequisite for the existence of a democratic society", as stated in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Commission, which establishes: "Everyone should have equal opportunity to receive, seek and impart information through any media without discrimination, for no reason, including race, color, religion, sex, language, political or any other, national or social origin, Economic possition, birth or other status ".
Freedom of expression is that which has played an important role in democracy, and it has led the reconstruction of the social fabric since the signing of the Peace Accords. Prior censorship, imposed on the media in times of war ceased to be practiced, and some exceptions, It allowed the free exercise of this right from the media. It is noteworthy also that freedom was won at the expense of the lives of dozens of Salvadorans and foreign journalists who died during the Civil War.
The scenario presented today by the administration of President Bukele on Freedom of Expression is worrying, since from 2017, when he was mayor of San Salvador, It started blocking the work of the critical press and to exclude from his press conferences some media that are not related to his speech; in addition to incite his followers through social networks to delegitimize and attack.
Now, as president of the Republic, their attitude of "zero tolerance" to criticism and the questioning continues and treated as "enemies" journalists of digital magazines Factum and El Faro, preventing access to the performance of their work and Casa Presidencial twice.
In an official statement, the Government acknowledged that "restricted" access of journalists to the conference and to keep the measure until the "commitment to good behavior" by the aforementioned means.
Denying access to journalists of El Faro and Factum occurred during the announcement of the launch of the International Commission Against Corruption in El Salvador CICIES, along with a senior official of the Organization of American States OAS, regional entity which protects freedom of expression through a Special Rapporteur, whose representative, Edisson Lanza, He has reported on his Twitter account and said that "governments should be neutral against the editorial line of the media".
The DOP Free Speech emphasizes the Commission: "The restrictions on the free flow of ideas and opinions, as well as the arbitrary imposition of information and creating obstacles to the free flow of information, violate the right to freedom of expression ". What happened in Presidential House last week is part of this statement and therefore compromises the quality of democracy practiced by President Bukele to the condition to the registration of "good behavior" journalists from magazines and cited.
The registration system attacks on journalists Journalists Association of El Salvador APES notes, in the first hundred days in office of President Bukele, a total of 23 cases of coercion against the press, among them 4 digital attacks on reporters, 3 restrictions on the practice of journalism by authorities and 2 threats to life.
The alarm has also sounded in the records of the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which noted a decline this year 15 points in the world ranking of Press Freedom. In 2018, El Salvador was in the number 66 and now she fell to the 81, and the reason for that decline is structural violence and government control of the press. Although this report does not collect the result of administration of Bukele, makes clear the vulnerability of the Salvadoran press against these two conditions: structural violence and government control, the latter continues with the current administration.
All of the above, as Salvadoran journalists in the world and as Salvadoran citizens, We demand that President Najib Bukele that respects the dignity of our noble journalism. We reject the pejorative phrases, that he and his cabinet members have spoken out against men and women of the press.
We remind President Bukele he is now sitting in the presidential chair, achieved thanks to democracy in our country, a democracy in which we journalists have offered up sacrifice and dedication, including the lives of several of our colleagues and threats over the years we have received many of us.
We ask that instead of discredit and accuse all our guild, turn orders that our journalists are protected in El Salvador. Month to month, our colleagues forced to leave the country by threats faced by the climate of violence in El Salvador. It is Diaspora us as we have to face these serious cases.
The media in the whole world and organizations in defense of press freedom are well aware of what is happening in El Salvador and have sympathized with our guild in multiple ways.
For the sake of our country, we want a genuine change in the attitude of outrage, humiliation and mockery of who should be the first Salvadoran to show respect for its people.
We called journalists in El Salvador to strengthen their sense of unity to face the challenge of claiming respect and dignity for their profession.