Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brazil: Independence Day protests result in attacks against 20 journalists


Abraji (Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism) has recorded 21 cases of violations against 20 media professionals during the protests that took place on September 7th, 2013 (Independence Day). The police were responsible for 85% of the aggressions – 18 cases – mostly in the use of pepper spray. The number of attacks may rise as more cases are being confirmed. The 21 cases registered so far by Abraji are organized in a downloadable spreadsheet.

Brasilia was the most violent city for press workers: 12 journalists were attacked, all by military police. Ricardo Marques, a photographer for Metro newspaper, fainted after being attacked in the face with pepper spray. One of his cameras was stolen. Monique Renne, photo-reporter for Correio Braziliense, captured the moment in which a police officer sprayed directly on her camera. While shooting the scene, Andre Coelho, from the same newspaper, was attacked by policemen.

In Rio de Janeiro, Globo News reporter Julio Molica was attacked twice - by the police's pepper spray and by protesters, who kicked him out of the area.

Demonstrators have also turned against the press in Manaus (Amazonas): reporter Izinha Toscano, from Portal Amazonia, got punched in the back three times; Camila Henriques, from G1 Amazonas, was pushed. The two were trying to report on some protesters being arrested.

Security forces: tradition of violence

The numbers show the recurrence of violence against journalists carried out by security forces. On September 7th, the Brazilian military police surpassed their record from June 13th, when security agents attacked 18 media workers.

Since June 13th, Abraji has recorded 82 violations against journalists covering protests. The complete spreadsheet with all attacked professionals' names, media outlets, dates and places of the aggressions is available to download here.

Abraji condemns the police's and demonstrators' actions against press workers. Violence is always unjustified. When it affects reporters, all citizens end up victimized by misinformation.