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El Salvador

2012



Mara Salvatrucha gangsters attend mass in prison. Members of the gang have been charged with the murder of a journalist. (AP/Luis Romero)

New York, June 7, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction in the 2011 murder of Salvadoran cameraman Alfredo Antonio Hurtado Núñez, but calls on authorities to ensure that the other gunman charged for the crime is brought to justice.

Solidarity, a key to security, eludes Salvadoran press

Visitors look at an exhibit displaying the bloodstained clothes of the Jesuit priests murdered by the Salvadoran military in 1989. (AP/Luis Romero)

No other journalists are remembered quite like this. Visitors looking through the glass display at the Monsignor Romero Center & Martyrs Museum in San Salvador see the pajamas and other clothes that three Jesuit university priests were wearing when they were shot down by automatic rifle fire. A series of clear containers are filled with dark blades of grass cut from the campus lawn where each had spilled his blood.

Why journalists need new ways to stay safe

Gang members at a prison in Izalco shortly after a government-brokered truce. (Reuters/Ulises Rodriguez)

After the Salvadoran online newsmagazine El Faro exposed a secret government deal with criminal gangs last month, its staff faced repercussions that illustrate the new and complicated risks facing journalists worldwide. El Faro's report, which said the government provided more lenient treatment of imprisoned gangsters in exchange for the groups' agreement to slow down their murderous practices, addressed one of the most sensitive topics facing journalists today--crime and its many interconnections with government.

Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes denies that his government has engaged in negotiations with gangs to lower the rate of homicides. (AP/Luis Romero)

"El Salvador is committed to guaranteeing the safety of El Faro and its staff so they can continue their investigative work," David Rivas, spokesman for President Mauricio Funes Cartagena, told CPJ in a recent phone conversation. The government's pledge came after groundbreaking reporting by the digital newspaper about secret negotiations in which local gangs, known as Maras, said they would limit murders in exchange for official concessions, like having imprisoned gang members transferred to lower-security prisons.

New York, March 21, 2012--The editor of the Salvadoran news website El Faro says his staff members have been followed after the site reported on a criminal network involving politicians. In addition, he said a senior government official told the staff last week that gang members were angered by coverage of alleged ties between law enforcement officials and local gangs, and might retaliate.

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Killed in El Salvador

3 journalists killed since 1992

3 journalists murdered

1 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

1 Conviction in a journalist's murder, a victory in the fight against impunity.

Country data, analysis »

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Americas

Senior Program Coordinator:
Carlos Lauría

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Sara Rafsky

clauria@cpj.org
srafsky@cpj.org

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