RSF helps create Observatory of Violence against Journalists in Brazil
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is one of the civil society organisations that have been invited to join Brazil’s new National Observatory of Violence against Journalists, a justice ministry offshoot that will monitor violence against journalists and propose policies for preventing such violence and for protecting media personnel.
As such, RSF participated in the initial meeting held in Brasilia on 8 February to launch the Observatory's work. Chaired by justice secretary Augusto de Arruda Botelho, who will head the Observatory, the meeting brought together representatives of many state entities and civil society organisations.
The Observatory’s duties will include keeping track of cases of aggression against journalists and obstruction of their work, monitoring the ensuing investigations and trials and, when appropriate, referring cases to the Programme for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (PPDDH). It will also produce data intended to support public policies and prevention and protection standards, including protocols for police action at demonstrations and public events.
RSF will contribute in particular to the first of these responsibilities by submitting the information it gathers about press freedom violations in Brazil, for the purpose of creating a single database on cases of violence and aggression against the media
“After a very grim period for journalists, who suffered all kinds of intimidation and harassment, the Lula government’s commitment to shedding light on these problems represents an important step towards democratic reconstruction in Brazil. The key now is to transform political will into concrete actions capable of reversing this disturbing situation.”
At this first meeting, RSF and partner organisations submitted a report to the federal government listing 45 cases of aggression against journalists during the invasion of government centres in Brasilia by supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro on 8 January and during the dismantling of the camps of Bolsonaro supporters in various parts of the country.
RSF also reiterated its call for a dialogue with the federal police in the state of Amazonas, who are responsible for investigating the June 2022 murders of British journalist Dom Philips and the Brazilian expert on Indigenous peoples, Bruno Pereira.
RSF and other journalism defence organisations will participate in the Observatory’s working meetings every two months. They will also be attended by representatives of the security forces, the National Council of Justice and the National Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office, among others. The next meeting is to focus on judicial harassment of media personnel and freelance journalists.
Brazil is ranked 110th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.