Chamber orders the Ministry of Finance to suspend requirements against newspaper El Faro

The resolution was issued after a claim for protection filed by the company that owns El Faro for a series of requirements unrelated to the tax interest requested by the Ministry of Finance.

The Ministry of Finance must temporarily refrain from requesting key documentation from Trípode, Sociedad Anónima de Capital Variable (Trípode, SA de CV), owner of the digital newspaper El Faro, while an amparo process is finally resolved at the request of the signature and determines whether this rather compromises freedom of expression and the press and the rights of journalists, ordered the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

In a resolution issued this Friday, the highest court orders that “immediately and provisionally” the requirement of the minutes books of the Board of Directors of the company, the reports or final reports that are delivered to the international cooperators and the details on subscribers who make regular contributions

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The decision of the Chamber responds to an amparo lawsuit filed by El Faro against the General Directorate, the General Subdirectorate and the Department of Criminal Investigation and Tax Regulations, authorities of the General Directorate of Internal Taxes (DGII) of the Ministry of Finance, which They initiated procedures in which they have been investigating the tax behavior of their represented company in relation to the tax years of 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

In the opinion of Trípode’s lawyers, there is a risk that the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information and informational self-determination of journalists who exercise – or have exercised within the relevant periods – their work in the media will be violated. communication, individuals who contribute to it and the plaintiff society.

“The disclosure of the questioned information would allow the Executive Branch to know aspects of the editorial and research line of the medium, as well as journalistic secrets related to the methodology, sources and collaborators of the El Faro medium”, say the allegations of the lawyers.

In addition to this, it is argued that the private information of the subscribers of the aforementioned medium has no tax relevance and should be protected because it is personal data of a sensitive nature.

The Chamber clarifies that this resolution “does not constitute –in any way– an obstacle to the power of inspection of the tax public administration”, since the purpose of this process is not to control the inspection procedures themselves, nor to define –merely– If the questioned documentation and information has tax relevance, but rather to establish whether –as a consequence of the eventual delivery of what is required– the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information and informational self-determination would be at risk.

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At the beginning of February, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued The IACHR issued legal protection measures in favor of the digital newspaper El Faro and its journalists against threats, harassment, intimidation, as well as criminalization and stigmatization by the Nayib government Bukele.

The IACHR, one of the main organs of the Organization of American States (OAS) for the promotion and defense of human rights, has ordered precautionary measures to the State of El Salvador considering the “seriousness, urgency and irreparability” of the events, ranging from threats, discrimination, discrediting through state media and other hostilities.

Given this, it demands the government of Nayib Bukele to adopt the necessary measures to preserve the life and integrity of 34 people who are part of El Faro, as well as so that “they 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 ”.

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