More than a dozen journalists from the digital media The lighthouse, two leaders of civil society organizations and two opposition politicians from El Salvador they have reported receiving warnings about possible espionage by “state-sponsored attackers.”
The technology company Apple has sent an email to this group of people alerting them of “Possible espionage” by “state-sponsored attackers” who could “compromise” your mobile phone “because of who they are or what they do”.
In addition to twelve members of El Faro, the president and executive director of the Fundación Democracia Transparencia Justicia (DTJ), José Marinero and Xenia Hernández, respectively, have also received these messages, as well as the deputy Jhonny Wright Sol, and the councilor of the mayor of San Salvador, Héctor Silva.
“While it may be a false alarm, please take this warning seriously”, adds Apple in the message sent to this group of people.
The Pegasus software jumped to the center of the controversy when last August an investigation by the newspaper The Washington Post revealed a list of 50,000 phones from around the world that could be targeted by the software. Among the users of these phones are journalists, activists and businessmen, among other personalities.
Pegasus software is used to gain access to the mobile phones of terrorists, traffickers or pedophiles, but Amnesty International and other human rights organizations claim that it has also been used for other purposes by governments.
The director for the Americas of Amnesty International, Erika Guevara-Rosas, has considered that the complaint by journalists from The lighthouse is “alarming”, already that “every day AI registers new state actions to silence dissent and accountability”.
“Journalism and the defense of Human Rights in El Salvador are in the crosshairs”, has indicated through a message on his Twitter account.
On November 3, the Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES) accused the government party New Ideas of following the rhetoric of the President’s Government, Nayib Bukele, in what he considers a series of attacks against the press.
“The ruling party has followed the same rhetoric as the Executive, in terms of seeing the independent press as an enemy or as an element opposed to the government’s discourse.”, has indicated the association in a statement.
Serafín Valencia, representative of APES, has clarified that the current legislature has incurred “greater restrictions both on access to official information of the Legislative Assembly and internal mobility”
“They (New Ideas) have made a kind of distinction and have decided that the official bench will only recognize as press the official press, journalists from government media and have restricted access to documentary information, information from live sources, for the rest of the press ”, he asserted.
In this sense, he wanted to clarify that the “Rejection of the press comes only from the ruling New Ideas bench.” “The rest of the parties are more accessible and respectful of the press, even the allies of the Government”, has added.
For some journalists, such as Beatriz Benítez, there is a clear “institutional policy and assiduous work of the Assembly’s communicators to block journalists who seek to obtain a position from the deputies of the New Ideas bench, who evade the media that They are not controlled by the ruling party ”.
“On some occasions the deputies of New Ideas give press conferences but do not answer questions on other issues, they flee to the press”, He stressed before referring to access to information as an“ essential tool in journalistic investigation work ”.
“From my experience I can say that basically the unit for access to public information works to delay responses with absurd precautions and deny the information requested,” he said.
APES data show that as of October 15 there have been more than 200 attacks on journalists, most of them by the National Police. “This implies a quite significant increase compared to last year. We have not finished the year and it has already been exceeded ”, lamented the association.
(with EP information)
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