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Salvador: where no news is fit to print

8 April 2022

Try to bring up the best independent media site in Central America today, and this is what you get (original in Spanish):

No to Censorship.

For many years, in this space our readers have found critical journalism with a declared intention of understanding the political and social phenomena that determine the lives of Salvadorans and Central Americans.

Among them, we have also covered gangs, their origin and their excessive development in the north of Central America, how they subdued a huge part of the population and which politicians and governments they have had secret agreements for more than a decade. Without an independent press, citizens would never have known about these pacts. To continue explaining this, to continue revealing those pacts, is now a crime that can be punished with up to 15 years in prison in El Salvador.

The amendments to the Penal Code, approved this week by the Assembly of [President] Nayib Bukele, are a gag on freedom of the press and freedom of expression. But above all on the citizen’s right to be informed. What should Salvadorans know about gangs? Nothing, according to the regimen.

In a democracy it is not those in power that decide what is published and what is not. But this new law, at the express request of the President of the Republic, comes when democratic life has already been dismantled and the regime tries to hide its own negotiations with criminal groups and its corruption by all means. That is why today, in protest against this gag law, we have closed our front page. El Salvador paid a very high price to obtain our freedoms. We cannot allow them to be taken from us by a regime that seeks to keep citizens in the dark. Tomorrow you will find here what we have done and continue to do: journalism. Today we protest.

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