October 6, 2020

Violations of the right to information in Brazil are subject of a new hearing by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Tomorrow, October 6, a coalition of 14 organizations, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), will present to the IACHR Brazil's current scenario of lack of access to reliable information. In March 2020, RSF was also part of the delegation that, in the hearing held in Haiti, reported on the decline in freedom of expression in Brazil to the IACHR.

Tomorrow, civil society organizations will participate in a virtual public hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to denounce violations of the right to information and how these violations affect historically vulnerable populations in Brazil. The coalition points out that, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, indigenous people, women, the black population, the LGBTQI+ population, children, adolescents, and residents of slums and peripheries have been deprived of the right to access reliable information, and as a result their rights to freedom of expression, education and health are seriously violated.


At the center of the meeting with the IACHR will be the responsibility of the Brazilian government in this panorama, since decisions made by the federal government itself caused a blackout of data about the status of the pandemic in the country. According to surveys and monitoring carried out by organizations that are part of the coalition, in addition to violating the constitutional commitment to transparency with state-held information, the federal government has been the author of disinformation campaigns and successive attacks against information providers and journalists, especially women. 


The agenda of the hearing also includes topics such as inequality in Internet access within Brazil and the dismantling of spaces for social participation in public management as factors that aggravate the living conditions of the populations mentioned above, leaving them even more vulnerable to the health, economic, and social crises the world is going through.


The following civil society representatives will testify: Ana Flávia Marx from the Barão de Itararé Alternative Media Studies Center; Sandra Andrade from the National Coordination for the Articulation of Black Rural Quilombola Communities (CONAQ); Nara Baré from the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab); Leonardo Pinho from the National Human Rights Council (CNDH); Patrícia Campos Mello, special reporter for Folha de São Paulo; and Pedro Borges, editor-in-chief of the Alma Preta news agency. Testimonies will also be given  by representatives of other organizations that signed the request for the hearing.


The organizations also intend to reiterate a request for the IACHR Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression to visit Brazil. The request was made during the public hearing held by the Commission in March of this year, in Haiti, when the debate focused on the upsurge in threats to freedom of expression in Brazil.  


The denial of access to information, stemming not only from the federal government’s omissions but also from its active role in the violation of this right, is clearly the result of a decision by the Brazilian state to ignore the laws and treaties to which Brazil is a signatory, with violent consequences on the lives of women, black men and women, indigenous people, and other vulnerable populations, and this is why we urgently request a visit to Brazil by the rapporteur,” said Iara Moura, executive coordinator of Intervozes, one of the organizations that requested the IACHR hearing. 


The IACHR is an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS). Its mandate is to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region, acting as an OAS advisory body on the subject.


Brazil is ranked  107th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.


The holding of the hearing is the result of joint work by these 14 civil society organizations:

  • Abraji - Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism
  • Amnesty International
  • Article 19
  • Barão de Itararé Center for the Study of Alternative Media
  • Network Rights Coalition
  • Coding Rights
  • Conectas Direitos Humanos
  • National Human Rights Council (CNDH)
  • Contee - National Confederation of Workers in Educational Institutions
  • National Forum for the Democratization of Communication (FNDC)
  • Intervozes - Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social
  • Instituto Vladimir Herzog (IVH)
  • Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  • Terra de Direitos