Óscar Martínez, editor-in-chief of El Faro, receives the DW Freedom of Speech Award 2023. Germany’s international broadcaster presented the prize for the ninth consecutive year at the DW Global Media Forum in Bonn.
"Freedom of expression and opinion in El Salvador are in peril, which makes trustworthy journalism even more important," said DW Director General Peter Limbourg. "It's my honor to present the DW Freedom of Speech Award to Oscar Martínez for the exemplary and courageous journalism he and his colleagues are producing despite the personal danger they experience."
Freedom of Speech Award-laureate Óscar Martínez is the editor-in-chief of El Faro, a journalistic platform in El Salvador known for its investigative reporting from across Latin America. It is also one of the last media outlets in El Salvador that is openly critical of the government. Martínez is one of Latin America's leading investigative journalists, known beyond the borders of El Salvador for holding the government to account and for his investigative reporting on organized crime and its ties to the Salvadoran government.
"El Salvador, where I come from and where I will return to after this award, is moving steadily towards becoming a full-fledged dictatorship. It is no longer a democracy," Martínez said during the award ceremony. "Gag laws have been created that can put a journalist in jail for up to 30 years for revealing information about gangs or their pacts with power. The words that tormented us during our 12-year civil war are resonating loudly : Exile, repression, political persecution, torture. And yet, never before in this century has Salvadoran journalism uncovered so many cases of corruption, impunity, and state violence. Do not abandon us, for we will continue to inform you. Do not abandon us, for the powerful are coming after us. Silence is not an option."
Deutsche Welle provides independent news and information to people worldwide in 32 languages. DW promotes democratic values, human rights and the dialogue between different cultures. Since 2015, DW has been honoring individuals and organizations with the Freedom of Speech Award. The first laureate was Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who had been jailed for ten years and was released in March this year. Other recipients include AP journalist and novelist Mstyslav Chernov and freelance photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka (2022) for their account of the siege of Mariupol, and Nigerian investigative journalist Tobore Ovuorie (2021), who uncovered an international human trafficking ring.
The DW Freedom of Speech Award ceremony is the annual highlight of the Global Media Forum, Deutsche Welle's international media conference. On June 19 and 20, 2023, some 2000 media experts and politicians from around the world are convening at the World Conference Center Bonn in Germany to discuss this year's theme "Overcoming divisions."