{"code":"26120","sect":"El Salvador","sect_slug":"el-salvador","hits":"1197","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/en\/202204\/el_salvador\/26120","link_edit":"","name":"Gag Order for Journalism on Gangs","slug":"gag-order-for-journalism-on-gangs","info":"El Salvador, in Brief: On Tuesday Bukele ordered changes to the Penal Code that press advocates warn censor journalism about gangs and would impede news outlets from questioning the official narrative on issues such as security policy and the government\u2019s secret negotiations with the gangs. The reforms could criminalize El Faro\u2019s newest revelation that an anti-mafia judge documented a top MS-13 leader\u2019s unlawful release from prison. The measure comes on the heels of the declaration of a 30-day state of exception on March 27. Subscribe to our newsletter","mtag":"Newsletter","noun":{"html":"El Faro English","data":{"el-faro-english":{"sort":"","slug":"el-faro-english","path":"el_faro_english","name":"El Faro English","edge":"0","init":"0"}}},"view":"1197","pict":{"cms-image-000037380-jpg":{"feat":"1","sort":"37380","name":"cms-image-000037380.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037380.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037380.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037380-jpg","text":"<p>The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly greets President Nayib Bukele for his second state-of-the-union address on June 1, 2021. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003EThe Salvadoran Legislative Assembly greets President Nayib Bukele for his second state-of-the-union address on June 1, 2021. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"},"cms-image-000037381-jpg":{"feat":"0","sort":"37381","name":"cms-image-000037381.jpg","link":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037381.jpg","path":"http:\/\/elfaro.net\/images\/cms-image-000037381.jpg","back":"","slug":"cms-image-000037381-jpg","text":"<p>Since the day the Legislative Assembly enacted a state of exception, the residents of Italia District in Tonacatepeque, San Salvador, pass through a security checkpoint set up by the Armed Forces at the gate of the colonia. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro<\/p>","capt":"\u003Cp\u003ESince the day the Legislative Assembly enacted a state of exception, the residents of Italia District in Tonacatepeque, San Salvador, pass through a security checkpoint set up by the Armed Forces at the gate of the colonia. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003C\/p\u003E"}},"pict_main__sort":37380,"date":{"live":"2022\/04\/06"},"data_post_dateLive_YY":"2022","data_post_dateLive_MM":"04","data_post_dateLive_DD":"06","text":"\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Salvadoran legislature passed Penal Code reforms Tuesday night to criminalize media or journalists who \u201creproduce and transmit messages from or presumably from gangs that could generate uneasiness or panic in the population.\u201d This new crime is punishable with up to 10 to 15 years in prison.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe reform, proposed by President Bukele on Tuesday afternoon and approved by the Assembly in just over three hours, penalizes the \u201celaboration or facilitation\u201d of texts, graphics, or graffiti that transmit messages \"that allude to the maras or gangs\u201d and, alarmingly, imposes \u201cequal sanctions\u201d for any who share these messages \u003Cstrong\u003E\u201cthrough communications technology, radio, television, written or digital means.\u003C\/strong\u003E\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe Salvadoran Journalists' Association (APES) called the measures a form of censorship. \"We\u2019re concerned about the arbitrary application of these reforms,\u201d said \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/_elfaro_\/status\/1511737912433463302?s=20&t=_vAqFhplrVmNLL_ntnyt-w\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EAPES president C\u00e9sar Fagoaga\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E, given the statements of ruling-party legislators asserting that \"the press has been a mouthpiece for the gangs.\" He added: \"The gangs will not disappear if we simply do not mention them.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAPES warns that \"these gag order reforms are\u003Cstrong\u003E a new tool to criminalize journalistic work\u003C\/strong\u003E,\" following a trend in El Salvador. On Feb. 1, the Legislative Assembly approved an '\u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/_elfaro_\/status\/1488598194254716931?s=20&t=97BTKCVqNJmGpykrGb4hUA\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eundercover digital agents law\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E' that press advocates say created a legal framework for previously illegal espionage. In January, international experts exposed the \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/citizenlab.ca\/2022\/01\/project-torogoz-extensive-hacking-media-civil-society-el-salvador-pegasus-spyware\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Euse of Pegasus spyware\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E against journalists and civil society. Now, legislators have also \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26100\/Is-Bukele\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Estripped citizens of civil liberties and privacy rights\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in El Salvador's ongoing state of exception.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EPresident Nayib Bukele sponsored the legislation through his Security Minister Gustavo Villatoro, the former customs director of right-wing Arena president Tony Saca (2004-2009) who last June said the administration was \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/elfaroenglish\/status\/1402348133137272834?s=20&t=97BTKCVqNJmGpykrGb4hUA\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esurveilling journalists for reporting on the discovery of a mass grave\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E in Chalchuapa, Santa Ana. The ruling-party bloc introduced and expedited the reforms through the legislature in the span of seven hours last night.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2001&ImageId=37380\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"The Salvadoran Legislative Assembly greets President Nayib Bukele for his second state-of-the-union address on June 1, 2021. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003EThe Salvadoran Legislative Assembly greets President Nayib Bukele for his second state-of-the-union address on June 1, 2021. Photo: V\u00edctor Pe\u00f1a\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele minimized the extent of the reforms online. \u201cI\u2019ve sent a bill to the Legislative Assembly to prohibit graffiti ALLUDING TO GANGS,\u201d he tweeted, \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/nayibbukele\/status\/1511535515157340166?s=20&t=_vAqFhplrVmNLL_ntnyt-w\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Elater adding\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E: \u201cWhen the Germans wanted to eradicate Nazism, they legally prohibited Nazi symbols, messages, apologists, and anything else promoting Nazism. Nobody said anything, because it was understandable. Now we\u2019ll do the same with the gangs.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-size: medium;\"\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003EPunishing Judges\u003C\/strong\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EWhat Bukele has not admitted during his administration\u2019s anti-gang policing and propaganda campaign is that last year \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/insightcrime.org\/news\/ms13-leaders-extradition-us-free-el-salvador\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Efour senior MS-13 leaders\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003Cstrong\u003E were quietly released from prison\u003C\/strong\u003E \u2014 all of them members of the \u003Cem\u003ERanfla\u003C\/em\u003E, or high command of the gang, and participants in the \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202108\/el_salvador\/25670\/Criminal-Investigation-Found-the-Bukele-Administration-Hid-Evidence-of-Negotiations-with-Gangs.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Egang\u2019s negotiations with the Bukele administration\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E since 2019, as reported by El Faro.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EAn \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/202204\/el_salvador\/26113\/Juez-document%C3%B3-que-Crook-fue-liberado-pese-a-tener-procesos-penales-abiertos.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003EEl Faro investigation\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E revealed on Tuesday that Godofredo Salazar, a San Salvador judge specialized in handling organized crime and gang cases, told higher-ups that freeing one of the gang leaders was illegal because of an ongoing sentence as well as pending charges.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EJudge Salazar wrote the memorandum on the case of \u00c9lmer Canales Rivera (alias Crook) on Mar. 29. Three days later, the \u003Cstrong\u003Ejudge was \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/elfaroenglish\/status\/1510382005531385858?s=20&t=_vAqFhplrVmNLL_ntnyt-w\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Etransferred from his courtroom\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E\u003C\/strong\u003E, where he has worked since 2007, after Bukele accused him on Twitter of having \u201ctried to free 42 [gang members] from a case opened in 2019.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIn 2017, Salazar \u003Ca href=\"\/es\/201708\/salanegra\/20815\/Juez-exonera-a-obreros-de-la-Tregua-y-pregunta-por-qu%C3%A9-Fiscal%C3%ADa-no-acus%C3%B3-a-Mungu%C3%ADa-Pay%C3%A9s.htm\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Epublicly questioned\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E why prosecutors had not investigated ex-president Mauricio Funes for his 2012 gang negotiations and exonerated police and prison officials for those talks, ruling that they had simply obeyed government policy.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003ESalazar\u2019s transfer shows the contradictions of Bukele\u2019s handling of the homicide crisis. While the Supreme Court installed by Bukele has refused to extradite gang leaders, the president has pressured rank-and-file judges to convict alleged gang members arrested during a massive surge of police and soldiers in the streets mirroring campaigns launched by his predecessors.\u00a0\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003ELate Tuesday night, Bukele said that just under 7,000 gang members had been arrested in the span of 11 days since El Salvador registered \u003Ca href=\"\/en\/202203\/el_salvador\/26100\/Is-Bukele\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003E62 homicides on Saturday, March 26\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\t\t\u003Cfigure class=\"pict pict_land pict_move_posc 0 cs_img cs_img--curr rule--ss_c\" data-shot=\"pict\" data-hint=\"pict\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__pobj text-overflow\"\u003E\u003Cimg src=\"https:\/\/elfaro.net\/get_img?ImageWidth=3000&ImageHeight=2000&ImageId=37381\" class=\"pobj\" style=\"max-width: 100%\" rel=\"resizable\" alt=\"Since the day the Legislative Assembly enacted a state of exception, the residents of Italia District in Tonacatepeque, San Salvador, pass through a security checkpoint set up by the Armed Forces at the gate of the colonia. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\" \/\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"pict__line block edge--ss_lax edge--ss_rax padd--ss_l0x padd--ss_r0x line--ss_s0b lineh rule--ss_c\"\u003E\u003Cspan class=\"block-inline full-width align-middle lineh__rect tint-back--nake\"\u003E\u003Cspan\u003E\u00a0\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003Cfigcaption class=\"pict__text cs_img_caption folk_content typo_buttons line--ss_s0c line--ss_s0c--auto block full-width text-overflow rule--ss_l relative\"\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"__content block-inline full-width align-top tint-text--idle relative\"\u003ESince the day the Legislative Assembly enacted a state of exception, the residents of Italia District in Tonacatepeque, San Salvador, pass through a security checkpoint set up by the Armed Forces at the gate of the colonia. Photo: Carlos Barrera\/El Faro\u003Cdiv class=\"photographer text_italic rule--ss_l tint-text--idle\"\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/div\u003E\u003C\/figcaption\u003E\u003C\/figure\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EHours after the murders, the Legislative Assembly suspended rights to criminal defense and communications privacy. Days later, the legislature increased criminal penalties for gang membership, as well as for any kind of negotiation with gangs.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EThe handling of the ongoing homicide crisis is \u003Cstrong\u003Estoking tensions with the United States\u003C\/strong\u003E over the Salvadoran government\u2019s relationship with the Mara Salvatrucha. On Tuesday the White House called for an \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/www.swissinfo.ch\/spa\/el-salvador-violencia_ee-uu--pide-a-el-salvador-rescindir-lo-antes-posible-el-r%C3%A9gimen-de-excepci%C3%B3n\/47497156\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Eend to the emergency measures\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E \u201cas soon as circumstances permit\u201d and respect for the \u201chuman rights\u201d of all Salvadorans, including detained gang members.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EIt\u2019s unlikely that the gesture will have any effect. Interim ambassador Jean Manes cited frustrations about the non-extradition of MS-13 leaders on narcoterrorism charges when she resigned in November. Days later in December, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Bukele\u2019s lead negotiators with the gangs. The U.S. Embassy then requested confirmation from the Supreme Court in March that Crook had been released from prison.\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp dir=\"ltr\"\u003EBukele is not one to cave to pressure, even in the face of evidence. \"NOT ONE gang member has been freed,\" \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/elfaroenglish\/status\/1510382017485156359?s=20&t=_vAqFhplrVmNLL_ntnyt-w\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Ehe tweeted\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E (including capitalization) during the state of exception. \"ALL OF THEM REMAIN IN PRISON.\u201d\u003C\/p\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cbr\/\u003E\u003Cp\u003EThanks for your time\u003Cstrong\u003E. Pleae pass along our work \u003C\/strong\u003Eand consider funding independent journalism in Central America, in its most critical hour, at \u003Ca href=\"https:\/\/support.elfaro.net\/\"\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"text-decoration: underline;\"\u003Esupport.elfaro.net\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/a\u003E.\u003C\/p\u003E"}