Brazil’s international profile remained on the rise, but its government consistently failed to show leadership on press freedom issues. Anti-press violence surged with four work-related fatalities; the country’s ranking also worsened on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and the authorities fail to solve the crimes. Along with India and Pakistan—two other countries that rank poorly on the Impunity Index—Brazil raised objections to a comprehensive UNESCO proposal to help nations combat impunity and protect journalists. In the face of heavy criticism, U.N. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti later expressed broad support for press freedom and elements of the UNESCO plan. But the government's commitment to free expression came into question in another important international matter. Brazil supported an Ecuadoran-led effort to weaken the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the human rights monitoring body of the Organization of American States, and its special rapporteur for freedom of expression. In December, investigative reporter and CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee Mauri König fled Brazil after receiving death threats related to his coverage of police corruption. President Dilma Rousseff’s government did usher in two measures promoting the public’s right to know. Rousseff signed into law an access-to-information measure and created a commission to investigate human rights abuses committed during the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
Four journalists were killed in Brazil in direct retaliation for their reporting. A fifth journalist was killed under unclear circumstances, and CPJ continues to investigate.
The 24 work-related murders of journalists over the past two decades make Brazil the third deadliest country in the Americas, behind only Colombia and Mexico, and 11th in the world, CPJ research shows.
1. Iraq: 151
2. Philippines: 73
3. Algeria: 60
4. Russia: 54
5. Somalia: 48
6. Pakistan: 48
7. Colombia: 44
8. Syria: 30
9. India: 29
10. Mexico: 28
11. Brazil: 24
12. Afghanistan: 24
13. Turkey: 20
14. Bosnia: 19
15. Sri Lanka: 19
16. Tajikistan: 17
17. Rwanda: 17
18. Sierra Leone: 16
19. Bangladesh: 13
20. Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: 12
CPJ’s Impunity Index found that Brazil is the world’s 11th worst nation in combating deadly anti-press violence, with five unsolved murders over the past decade.
4. Sri Lanka
A São Paulo court ordered a former army colonel, Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra, to pay damages to the family of journalist Luiz Eduardo da Rocha Merlino, who was tortured and killed while jailed in 1971, during the country’s military dictatorship. It is the first time an individual has been ordered to pay compensation for dictatorship-era crimes.
|Years in which the newly formed truth commission will work on a report on human rights abuses during the dictatorship era|
|Possible prosecutions due to a 1979 law that provided blanket amnesty for crimes committed during the regime|
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.