Renaud Philippe: “I have never been so worried about my safety at the hands of those who are supposed to ‘serve and protect.'”
In a case permeated by gender violence, journalist Schirlei Alves has been sentenced to one year in prison and damages of US$80,000 for defamation, for her report on the trial of influencer Mariana Ferrer.
Whether farmers, livestock breeders, loggers, gold miners or mining company executives, those who monopolise land and natural resources seek to silence anyone reporting on violations of human rights and environmental legislation.
“A society that does not guarantee free and safe conditions for journalism, for the defence of fundamental rights and for the defence of its Indigenous peoples is condemned, by denying its past, to failure in the construction of its future” – RSF.
A report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows to what point online violence against the media became widespread when Jair Bolsonaro was president and, in particular, during last October’s elections.
RSF is reinforcing its monitoring of press freedom violations in Brazil’s Amazonian region, where journalistic freedom is crucial to combatting climate change.
For a journalist facing criminal or civil lawsuits having access to relevant legal advice and resources can mean the difference between a prison sentence and freedom, censorship and the free flow of information.
According to the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji) and the Federal District Journalists’ Union (SJPDF), at least 16 journalists were attacked or harassed at the capital on January 8, and at least 24 others have been targeted in the aftermath of the riots.
HRW: Violence on Brazil’s democratic institutions is an attempt to “deny the right of Brazilians to elect the leaders of their choice”
“This attack is the culmination of a years-long campaign by former president Jair Bolsonaro and his allies to undermine democratic principles and spread baseless claims of electoral fraud. The authorities have a responsibility to provide security to Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace, as well as protect the media and others” – HRW
CPJ joined eight civil society groups and press freedom organizations in a letter to the communications working group of the Brazilian transitional government, urging the incoming federal administration to adopt measures to protect press freedom and the safety of journalists.
CPJ urges the state assembly in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina to drop its investigation into independent investigative outlet “The Intercept Brasil” and independent online outlet “Portal Catarinas” and respect the confidentiality of journalistic sources.
What is next for Brazil? There is no simple answer, but democracy is at risk as the country approaches national elections – and we should all be concerned.
The courts, social media platforms, and others must work together to combat disinformation promoted by the incumbent president.
For a legitimate and free election process to occur, it is essential to strengthen democratic principles, which include guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and providing a suitable environment for independent media to disseminate quality information and thus contribute to an informed vote.