Journalists obstructed from polling stations in March general elections

Expression

El Salvador held legislative and municipal elections on 4th March. Civil society monitored the situation around the elections in regards to the respect of the right to freedom of expression in the country. Centro de Monitoreo de Agresiones contra Periodistas (Centre for Monitoring Attacks against Journalists) documented 25 attacks against free of expression, 60 percent of which were related to journalists banned from entering polling stations, especially during the final vote count; and around 12 percent related to verbal threats. The report also highlighted the fact that the country's constitution does not clearly define or protect journalists' rights to access polling stations when covering elections.  

Further investigation needed into journalist's death

On 14th April, journalist Karla Turcios was found dead after having been reported missing for more than six hours. Police confirmed that they have three theories on the motive behind the murder and none of them are specifically connected to her journalism activities. In response to the crime, the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, declared the need for further investigation into the incident, stating that:

"Violence cannot be met with impunity as it threatens freedom of expression and people’s right to information".

Association

After several months of work on a legislative project, Mesa por el Derecho a Defender Derechos Humanos (Bureau for the Right to Defend Human Rights), a civic coalition in El Salvador, will present a proposal to create a legal framework that would protect human rights defenders in the country. The coalition is waiting for the new National Assembly to be sworn in and expects that this proposal will be one of the first points on the legislature's agenda.