Investigative Journalism in El Salvador
From his campaign for president until today, the most frequent target of social media attacks and diatribes by Nayib Bukele has been the independent press in the country, especially when they are in the middle of revealing uncomfortable truths about his administration. That strategy, of denigrating the press as "fake news" which is "biased" and "part of the opposition", has appeared to work. Bukele's popularity remains sky high with a public unwilling to hear any criticism of their "cool dictator."
Despite this, the journalism being produced by investigative journalists in El Salvador in recent years has actually been getting stronger. As a student of the Salvadoran press for more than 20 years, I feel comfortable saying that the reporting now may be the best it has ever been, with reporters for multiple online media sites showing significant courage and fortitude knowing that all power in the country rests in the hands of those they are investigating.
Set out below is a list of those Salvadoran independent journalism sites that I follow. For each, I have included a link to a recent important report which is representative of its work. In addition, all of these sites publish information about who is behind the publication and their source of funding. I have linked to those pages for each publication, because it is an important piece of transparency which is lacking for the entire network of "news" sites established to broadcast the pro-Bukele regime spin on the news.
I did not include traditional newspapers like La Prensa Grafica, El Diario de Hoy and El Mundo in this list. Those papers do produce excellent investigations from time to time as well, but here I am highlighting the work of independent non-profit press outlets.
For the most part, other than the English version of El Faro, these sites only publish in Spanish. But online tools like Google Translate have gotten so good, that this content can be easily accessed by my English speaking readers.
- El Faro. You already know about El Faro. This is the award-winning and longest-running independent site for investigative journalism in El Salvador. They are increasingly translating much of their content into English on the El Faro English site. (About).
- Revista Factum. Just behind El Faro in terms of longevity is Revista Factum whose team of journalists have published important stories about gangs and corruption and politicians. (About).
- FOCOS. FOCOS started as an independent television interview show which asked hard questions of its guests. It lost its space on television through pressure from the Bukele regime and now is entirely online in both text and multi-media. (About).
- Recent report: The $4.9 million in state loans from Banco Hipotecario for 27 officials and 3 cousins of Bukele
- GatoEncerrado. GatoEncerrado is a digital magazine of independent journalism founded in 2017, specialized in the environment, gender, politics, justice and verification of public discourse. (About).
- VozPublica. This site was founded by Wendy Monterrosa, a smart television interviewer who lost her news show through pressure by the Bukele regime which didn't like the tough questions. (About).
- RevistaElementos: A digital magazine specialized in in-depth journalism that publishes articles and reports on the defense of democracy, freedom of expression and the press as well as justice and transparency, gender and diversity, human rights and the fight against corruption. (About).
- MalaYerba: This is a site devoted to reporting on threats to the environment in El Salvador founded by environmental reporter Carolina Amaya. (About)
- Infodemia. This site is dedicated to fact-checking the discourses of public officials and government propaganda. (About)
- Redacción Regional. A consortium of media from Central America and Mexico. (About).
- Recent report: The 749 departures of gang members from Zacatraz