Police in El Salvador have arrested more than 30,000 people across the country in a nationwide crackdown on gangland violence.
The country has struggled with gang violence for decades.
President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency after 87 people were murdered in a single weekend in March.
El Faro, an online publication in El Salvador, claims the government has struck a deal with gang leaders to curb violence on the streets.
Carlos Dada, the director of the online publication El Faro, says journalists who speak about the gangs or try to investigate the alleged agreement face prison sentences.
“In my organisation alone there are twenty-two journalists infected with Pegasus. For a year and a half (we have had) prosecution of cases, accusations of committing crimes, alliances with terrorists, they have accused us of laundering money, of evading taxes, there are journalists in exile due to Bukele’s attacks and threats,” the director says.
When Bukele’s party took control of the legislative assembly, he replaced all the judges in the constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court.
“The dismantling of democracy had already reached levels probably without return, at least during the presidential term,” said Dada.
What is happening in El Salvador, according to the journalist, should make the international community act.
El Faro says journalists are been penalised for exposing the government in a separate crackdown on free speech.
“We support and accompany civil society organisations, human rights organisations, and the independent press in El Salvador,” said Dada.
Dada also warns that in Nicaragua the foreign powers looked the other way when Daniel Ortega took power.