ARTICLE 19 Mexico and Central America, Protection International Mesoamerica, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), and the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) have traveled to El Salvador to accompany journalists before and during the presidential election, which will be held on Sunday, 4 February. Together with the Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES), we are calling for the government to guarantee freedom of expression and the fundamental rights of journalists.
During the next few days, civil society organisations and journalists will discuss journalism in the context of the election and the challenges for the press over the next presidential term.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, Free Press Unlimited, Fundamedios, and Voces del Sur have also expressed their support and solidarity for journalists in El Salvador.
APES has documented violations against journalists in the run up to election day. From 5 January to 31 January 2024, the association registered 11 aggressions by public officials, soldiers of the Armed Forces, and from people on social media. At the same time, APES warns of a potential increase of attacks on election day. As a precedent, during the last legislative election, on 28 February, 2021 they recorded 53 aggressions against journalists gathering news that day.
The free and safe practice of journalism is fundamental for democratic societies and for fulfilling the rights of access to information and freedom of the press and expression. This is even more important when dealing with matters of public interest, such as elections, since critical and investigative journalism makes it possible to know what is happening and allows citizens to make informed decisions.