InterAmerican Commission finds reason to award protective measures for Salvadoran journalists
On February 4, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled that the government of El Salvador should take precautionary measures to safeguard journalists at El Faro who have been subject to "harrassment, threats, intimidation and stigmatization" through the course of their reporting on events in the country.
From the IACHR news release summarizing the decision (translated from original Spanish):
A copy of the full decision can be found here.
When making its decision, the Commission assessed that, according to the petition, the beneficiaries work for the El Faro Digital Newspaper, an independent media outlet, and have been the object of harassment, threats, intimidation and stigmatization - mainly through social media - for reasons of their journalistic activities. Likewise, the Commission considered that the information received on the situation of risk to the beneficiaries, assessed in the contextual framework in El Salvador, suggests that the alleged acts of harassment, threats and intimidation towards the beneficiaries has the purpose not only to intimidate them but also also hinder those activities derived from their journalistic work. Therefore, such a situation generates a high level of exposure for the beneficiaries, increasing their risk situation. For its part, the IACHR also considered that although the State should have taken action upon becoming aware of the alleged facts, to date no protection measures are being implemented with the purpose of mitigating the current risk situation of the beneficiaries.
After analyzing the allegations of fact and law presented by the parties, the Commission identified that, from the prima facie standard, 34 identified members of the El Faro Digital Newspaper find themselves in a serious and urgent situation, since their rights to life and personal integrity face risk of irreparable damage. Consequently, in accordance with Article 25 of the IACHR Rules of Procedure, El Salvador is asked to: a) Adopt the necessary measures to preserve the life and personal integrity of the identified beneficiaries; b) Adopt the necessary measures so that the beneficiaries can carry out their journalistic activities in exercise of their right to freedom of expression, without being subjected to acts of intimidation, threats and harassment; c) Agree on the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and d) Report on the actions taken to investigate the alleged facts that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure and thus avoid its repetition.
Nos han seguido, grabado en nuestras casas, acusado desde el gobierno de ser delincuentes , amenazado con “meterte 3 tiros en la cabeza” o colocar un “coche bomba” y a mis compañeras con violencia sexual. Por eso la @CIDH nos da medidas cautelares.https://t.co/ivKpLbBi7w— Nelson Rauda Zablah (@raudaz_) February 5, 2021
We have been followed, recorded in our houses, accused by the government of being criminals, threatened with "shoot you 3 times in the head" or place a "car bomb" and my female colleagues threatened with sexual violence. For this the @CIDH granted us protective measures.
It seems unlikely that a paper ruling from the InterAmerican Commission will change any behavior of Bukele and his allies, except perhaps that they will begin to disparage that body. It also seems unlikely, for now, that investigative journalists in El Salvador will give up on covering persons in power.