Reporters Without Borders is using the World Cup in Brazil as a peg for an awareness campaign about the constant violations of freedom of information and violence against of journalists in this South American nation.
The campaign aims above all to draw attention to the threats, physical attacks and murders that target journalists in the land of football. Designed by the French advertising agency BETC, it is available in French, English and Portuguese. It consists of a visual in Brazil’s colours with the words, “In Brazil, football has taken a hit, but not as much as press freedom,” and the Brazilian flag with Rio’s Christ the Redeemer clasping a hand to his face in the centre of the flag. A total of 21 journalists have been murdered in Brazil since 2004, 12 of them in the past three years. They were usually gunned down on the street and in many cases because they had been investigating corruption, drug trafficking or conflicts of interest. “No matter how traumatic for Brazilians, the Seleçao’s defeat in the World Cup must not deflect attention from what is a much graver setback for this country, namely the abysmal level of freedom of information and security for journalists,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire. According to RWB’s tally, there have been at least 54 physical attacks on journalists since the start of the year. In February, a journalist was fatally injured in clashes between police and protesters for the first time since the start of the protests against the World Cup. The victim was cameraman Santiago Ilídio Andrade, who was covering rioting in Rio for Bandeirantes TV. Two other journalists – Pedro Palma and José Lacerda da Silva – were gunned down in cold blood the same month. Brazil is facing an emergency – its failure to protect journalists. RWB’s secretary-general met Thomas Traumann, the minister in charge of the Secretariat for Social Communication, in the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia on 10 July. He also met with foreign ministry officials In both meetings, he stressed the gravity of the attacks on journalists and referred to the recommendations for addressing violations of freedom of information that Reporters Without Borders made in its January 2013 report on Brazil entitled “The country of 30 Berlusconis.” Brazil is ranked 111th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. The campaign visual is royalty-free but please credit © BETC for Reporters Without Borders.