World Report - Brazil
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||August 2011|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, World Report - Brazil, August 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4d59463c2.html [accessed 22 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
- Area: 8,514,000 sq. km
- Population: 191,000,000
- Language: Portuguese
- Head of state: Dilma Rousseff, since January 2011
Despite legislative progressive and some success in combating impunity, Brazil can still be dangerous for journalists, especially in the north and northeast. As in other countries, organized crime continues to be the main direct source of threats. Handicapped by conflicts of interest, Brazil's media are also increasingly exposed to political and judicial harassment, while Internet journalists are often subject to preventive censorship.
Freedom of expression made a great deal of progress during Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's two terms as president. A 1967 media law inherited from the military dictatorship was repealed, a clause in the 1997 election law banning caricature during election campaigns was suspended and access to state-held information was improved. Investigations into the murders of journalists produced encouraging results but there are still significant risks for the media, especially in the north and northeast.
Seven journalists have been murdered since the start of 2010. In two of the cases, those of the politically committed bloggers Francisco Gomes de Medeiros and Ednaldo Figueira, killed in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte in October 2010 and June 2011 respectively, the motive was clearly linked to the victim's work.
Gomes, who was also a presenter on Radio Caicó, blogged about organized crime and had accused certain local politicians of swapping votes for drugs in the first round of the October 2010 elections. Figueira, also the owner of the local daily O Serrano, had posted an investigative report and poll about local municipal finances in his blog. Ricardo Gama, a Rio de Janeiro-based blogger critical of the local authorities, narrowly survived a murder attempt in March 2011.
The federal supreme court's long-awaited and necessary repeal of the 1967 media law has perversely resulted in an increase in abusive legal actions against the media by local officials. Again, bloggers are often the targets. Carlos Santos, a freelance journalist in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, was ordered in February 2011 to pay 6,000 reals (2,600 euros) to charities for three blog comments criticizing the local mayor. The order replaced an initial sentence of four months in prison.
A court in the northern state of Pará meanwhile ordered Lúcio Flávio Pinto, the editor of the biweekly online newspaper Jornal Pessoal, to stop carrying any reports about the trial of the management of O Liberal, a company that owns several regional media, on embezzlement charges. Santos and Pinto have both been the target of about 30 legal proceedings in connection with what they have written.
The print media are not spared either. Diário do Grande ABC was banned in May 2010 from publishing any articles about a corruption case involving the mayor of São Bernardo do Campo, in the state of São Paulo.
Finally, the Brazilian media continue to suffer from conflicts of interest and concentration of ownership in very few hands (to the detriment of community media). Many politicians own one or more media companies either directly or through frontmen.
Updated in August 2011