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El Salvador newspaper misrepresented in unauthorised clone of its site

This statement was originally published on sipiapa.org on 11 August 2015.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today asked the El Salvador Attorney General's Office to carry out an exhaustive and swift investigation following a formal complaint of Internet attacks on the newspaper La Prensa Gráfica, an offense that has been repeated with increasing frequency in the countries of the Americas.

La Prensa Gráfica submitted a formal complaint to the Attorney General's Office over cloning of its Web site, violation of commercial trademarks and misrepresentation. In early July in cloned online editions of the newspaper there were published two false interviews with the newspaper's president, José Roberto Dutriz.

IAPA President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, called on the authorities “to investigate rigorously so as to determine responsibilities” and declared that these attacks are a violation of Article 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec which says that the arbitrary imposition of information directly goes against press freedom.

The issue of Internet attacks has been denounced as becoming more frequent by news media of the Americas, among them Guatemala's Prensa Libre, which on July 14 was also a victim of the cloning of its Web site to publish manipulated information, while Argentina's Clarín complained of having been hacked in 2014. San Salvador's Diario de Hoy has been a victim on several occasions of phishing – identity theft – so at to capture personal details.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, declared, “The digital attacks have become a problem that is continuing to increase and moreover which we must denounce and we must also prepare ourselves to face it.”

The IAPA officers urged the Attorney General's Office “to set a precedent through an exhaustive investigation and thus prevent impunity for these offenses and those utilizing the digital world being able to organize and launch Internet attacks on the free practice of journalism.”

This year there have also been Internet attacks on three state-owned news media in Bolivia, four news companies in Ecuador and media in Venezuela. In Mexico a recent report by the organization Article 19 documented 18 such attacks on online media sites in the first quarter of this year.

El Salvador's Legislative Assembly is studying a proposed Special Law on Internet and Related Crimes. This kind of law already exists in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Grenada, Peru and Venezuela.

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