Law for the protection of journalists ... In the other corner!

By Guillermo Mejía

The 3 May is World Press Freedom Day and it is appropriate to denounce the refusal of the deputies of the outgoing Legislative Assembly to pass the much-needed special law to protect journalists, communicators and communication and information workers who sleep the dream of the just despite the difficulties faced in the exercise of the journalistic profession.

The legislative commission in charge of the study and opinion of the preliminary draft in the end threw the ball without the effort of the press union materializing, with which it was demonstrated not only the contempt towards such an important work in social function, Instead, the country has the particular interests of politicians and merchants who make use of the right to communication and information..

From the Table for the Protection of Journalists and Media Workers Related to Information, where the Association of Journalists of El Salvador is integrated (APES), It has been insisted on the creation of this instrument entitled Special Law for the Integral Protection of Journalists, Communicators and Communication and Information Workers.

The preliminary draft states that journalists are being asked to "guarantee their prevention, protection and protection against any type of violation, assault or attack that puts your life at risk, integrity, security and enjoyment of their rights related to the exercise of journalistic or communication work ", in a context in which tension reigns in relations between the press and the government of the day.

It's obvious, but nevertheless, the conflict of interest suffered by politicians from different parties, for whom it is better to have an unprotected body of the press and at the expense of the fluctuations of corporate decisions - in tune with those who exercise power- that a press that demands access to public information and reveals the backstage of the current rulers.

It should be noted that many nations around the world have the journalist protection status and it is worth remembering the French deputy Emile Brachard that in 1935 supported the enactment of the statute to defend the journalist against journalist companies, governments of the day and sectors of power that fall into the temptation to violate the rights of journalists.

"The journalist plays a leading role in society, represents a part of the social forces that emanate from opinion, influences politics, in ideas, in customs, and yet he does not have the strength to defend himself ", Brachard warned at that time about a situation that still persists in the Salvadoran case.

On other occasions I have considered that one of the absent rights of the Peace Accords signed between the government of that time and the left is 16 of January of 1992 in Chapultepec, Mexico, It is that of communication, understanding this as a set of faculties inherent to the human being as a sociable being, to exchange and share various forms of messages.

Although the dominant discourse insists on the evolution of the collective communication system as an unequivocal sign of progress in the democratic process, from the peace process, This claim is not so true as many shortcomings of the system remain unchanged. The risk of eternalizing those conditions of those who have the media system in their hands continues, because on the one hand there is no proper attention on the part of the State in its obligation to comply with that right, while the economic power excludes broad sectors with impunity and exercises censorship.

We must add the fact that the media technological advance is intended to be sold as a sample of communicative democracy, as well as the dispersion and submission to corporate and ideological interests of the press corps in general, who is concerned more with technocratic aspects than with reflection and the fight for citizen rights.

Salvadoran society cannot fall into the mirage that because some traditional social media are in open conflict with the government in power, it clearly means that the professional practice of journalism has improved.. In most cases they are rather political expressions of corporate interests that draw water for their own mills.. Definitely, to a lesser extent, It should also be noted that there are some informational spaces that work outside of that logic of power.

Given the current circumstances in which journalistic activity is immersed, we must insist on the need to open up to plurality, for the construction of an agenda that enables the participation of all; the fight for the professional integrity of journalists; the creation of media observatories; the commitment of businessmen and politicians not to hinder journalistic work.

further, the promulgation of the professional status of the journalist and modern legislation on communication; the promotion of self-criticism by the media and the criticism of the public about said practice; the construction of citizenship as the main axis of journalistic practice; place ethics as the central axis of journalistic work; and the fight for the dignity of the journalist.

The other debt of the outgoing deputies is the non-approval of the law referring to the creation of public media, whose preliminary draft was presented during the first government of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), Although it was ironic and tragic that this "subversive idea" was also feared within the government of Mauricio Funes because it could necessarily empower citizens. How embarrassing.

Better a meek society and more if that society is mes. With which you can see the contempt for citizen rights by politicians, regardless of their ideological positions, to the extent that - instead of public media- the government of Nayib Bukele chose to renovate the canal 10 and created the newspaper El Salvador, with public funds, to line them up in their media offensive. How opportunistic.

It must also be said that in the deputies' lawsuit with Bukele, the outgoing Legislative Assembly released a report on the government's attacks on the media and journalists, after the work of a special commission that documented some complaints from colleagues. Sure, a temporary political measure, as, at the end, neither the special law for the protection of journalists nor the law for the creation of public media were approved. How petty.

In summary, nor the politicians, Nor are corporations interested in this type of effort that would benefit journalists and the general public., And if the hands of the outgoing Legislative Assembly trembled to enact those important and necessary laws, for the new Legislative Assembly - at the order of Bukele- nor in dreams will that top be thrown to the nail.

It happens like in the game of yesteryear "oil quart" ... In the other corner!