Bukele blocked investigative journalists from announcement of CICIES

At the August 6 press conference to announce the creation of the International Commission against Impunity in El Salvador (“CICIES” for its initials in Spanish), security guards prevented the entrance of journalists from two online periodicals, Revista Factum and El Faro. 

It struck many as no coincidence that just these two sets of journalists would be targeted by the Bukele administration.   Both periodicals have published articles asking uncomfortable questions about the Bukele administration and officials within it:

After the event, Bukele tweeted a statement from his Secretary of Communications proclaiming that the journalists from Factum and El Faro have been banned for bad behavior at prior press events.

Those of Factum and El Faro are making themselves "vistimas"  [victims], but this is the reality:
(The use of the term "vistimas" in quotes by Bukele is strange. He seems to be making an intentional reference to a viral video from a few months ago where a woman being interviewed in Chile used the word "vistimas" in place of "victimas," the Spanish word for victims, when talking about someone who was making themselves the victim.  The woman in the video was ridiculed and subject to cyber-bullying online, so much so that the government of Chile gave her a house as compensation for what she had suffered.)

El Faro provided its own rebuttal.  According to the periodical, although the government has permitted El Faro to attend prior press conferences and events, in the majority of cases Bukele has not taken a question from them. Neither he nor members of his cabinet made themselves available for interviews.  With respect the complaint that a reporter had previously shouted a question, El Faro replied that the recent practice of the Bukele team is to turn off all microphones after only receiving two questions from TV reporters and one from state radio.   When this happened at a recent event announcing the new national health plan, to make himself heard an El Faro reporter shouted a question about government spending from secret accounts.

Advocates for government transparency, human rights, and freedom of the press expressed concern about the actions of the Bukele administration.

The Central America office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights tweeted:
@OACNUDH expresses its concern over the obstructions denounced by @_ElFaro_ and @RevistaFactum which occurred during an official event.  Prior restraint of Freedom of the Press is prohibited by the International Law of Human Rights.

The Special Relator for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, from the InterAmerican Commission of Human Rights, a companion organization to the OAS, tweeted:
The day that the president of El Salvador @NayibBukele presents a commission to investigate corruption with the OAS, the presidential office impedes access to El Faro, one of the principal investigative media.   Governments should be neutral with regards to the editorial line of the media.

Father José Maria Tojeira, director of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Central America (IDHUCA) commented in a tweet:
To impede the entrance of journalists to public governmental events is never a "misunderstanding."   It is always an act of censorship and an attack against freedom of information.

The Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES) also issued a statement urging Bukele not to stigmatize journalists who might criticize him and protesting the prior restraint on press freedom which occurs when journalists are denied the right to ask questions.

This attitude of Bukele towards his critics in the press is nothing new.   A few weeks before he took office, I described how Bukele was already limiting the access of the press and taking actions to undermine the role and credibility of the press.

A free and independent investigative press is key to the fight against corruption.   Journalists around the world have been the first to uncover corruption of countless governmental officials.  If Bukele is serious about wanting to fight corruption, he should welcome journalists who are carefully scrutinizing the actions of members of his government.   Journalists may be the ones to uncover the cases which CICIES may need to investigate.

So why not sit down and be willing to answer some tough questions?

Journalist Gabriel Labrador of El Faro is blocked from entering Casa Presidencial for press conference


Don said…
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Don said…
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Don said…
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Don said…
El Faro and Factum don't investigate well. They just try to create a scandal where there isn't one. If you are investigating the partida secreta you should at least mention that Bukele's government didn't create the budget that included the partida secreta. The budget was created in Dec. 2018 when Bukele was still a candidate.

Here is Bukele's response to a factum reporter. He covers every topic your article mentions. As Bukele points out, these aren't tough questions. They are poorly investigated reports and questions designed to create an issue where one does not exist.