DemocracyAlert: Salvadoran Media Outlets Revista Factum and El Faro Threatened for Exposing Corruption

September 25, 2017

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The journalists of Revista Factum, an online investigative Salvadoran media outlet, are currently under attack for exposing corruption and the existence of death squads in the Special Reaction Forces of the National Civilian Police (Fuerza Especializada de Reacción also known as FES). On August 22, 2017, Revista Factum published an in-depth article on the FES’s abuses, and then on that same day, started to receive death threats online. Since then, members of the media outlet have become targets in a vicious smear campaign, and have been harassed by unknown individuals at their office. Staff at El Faro, El Salvador’s oldest digital investigative media outlet, also received the similar harassment after writing about Revista Factum’s hard-hitting article. Both media outlets fear for their safety as they believe the attacks to be retaliation for their reporting.

“The only response coming from the Salvadoran government is either denial or open harassment towards us.” – Héctor Silva Ávalosjournalist and co-director of Revista Factum.

Revista Factum’s article detailed how the FES led a death squad that committed “extrajudicial killings, sexual assault, and extortion” of Salvadoran citizens residing in gang-controlled territories throughout the country. Three police agents and one corporal from the unit also abused their authority by charging citizens money for protection from gangs, according to the article. After publication, the Salvadoran government briefly detained the four individuals described in the article as culpable for the violence. However, the government has released the four individuals and has failed to demonstrate interest in investigating the situation further.

The World Movement for Democracy urges the Salvadoran government to ensure an immediate end to the harassment of all journalists as well as an in-depth investigation into the alarming threats. Additionally, the Salvadoran government must thoroughly investigate the misconduct of the FES.

Watch Héctor’s video message here. Join us in speaking up for the threatened journalists of Revista Factum and El Faro by sharing Héctor’s video message on Facebook!

Region: Latin America / Caribbean | Topic: Freedom of Expression, Human Rights, Independent Media, Rule of Law, Transparency, Anti-Corruption and Accountability