The law permits the executive branch to use the emergency broadcasting service to take over all broadcast and cable networks temporarily to televise political programming. The president occasionally uses this law to highlight his accomplishments.
Fixed lines: 1.1 million lines in use, 74th in the world (2012).
Mobile cellular: 8.7 million lines, 88th in the world (2012); in 2007 the number of mobile phones exceeded the country's population giving the country a 1.15 per capita cellphone penetration rate.
Teledensity: Mobile cellular exceeds 135 per 100 persons (2011).
Telephone system: multiple mobile-cellular providers are expanding services rapidly; growth in fixed-line services has slowed in the face of mobile-cellular competition (2011).
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight. Individuals and groups engage in the expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. Internet access is available in public places throughout the country.
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights. Individuals criticize the government publicly or privately without reprisal, and in most cases the government does not interfere with such criticism. In March 2012, Carlos Dada, the owner of online newspaper El Faro, received death threats from gang members. The gangs were unhappy with El Faro’s reporting on the gang truce. On April 13, the International Press Institute criticized the government for not taking any actions to guarantee the safety of El Faro journalists. According to the Salvadoran Association of Journalists (APES), the media practices self-censorship, especially in their reporting on gangs and narcotics trafficking. APES stated that many members of the media were afraid to report in detail on these subjects due to fear of retaliation from gangs and narcotics trafficking groups.
The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence, and the government generally respects these prohibitions.