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Fronteras: Journalist María Martin 'sounds the alarm' on the tumultuous state of journalism in Central America

Central America was plagued by civil wars for decades.

Despite peace accords and promises of change, countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador continues to experience fragile democracies filled with poverty, political corruption and violence.

María Martin, author of Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: A Journalist’s Heart in Latin America and founder of public radio program "Latino USA," has lived and reported on Guatemala for years.

She said news that comes out of Central America can be hard to sell to outlets if it doesn’t center around immigration.

“Interest in Central America has its ebbs and its flows,” she said. “Mostly only when there are family separation crises along the border is there interest in Central America.”

Reporting on the situations in Central America comes with heightened risk.

The Committee to Protect Journalists reports 69 journalists and media workers have been killed since 1992 in the Northern Triangle of Central America — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Martin trains journalists through the GraciasVida Center for Media in Guatemala. She discussed the threats reporters face while trying to provide truthful and independent journalism.

“I’m not the only person who has referred to this as a human rights crisis,” she said. “(It’s) a crisis of constitutional law, a crisis of democracy, a crisis for anyone who tries to make change.”

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1