04 June 2010
IAPA requests Lula to federalize crimes against journalists
The IAPA called on Brazils President Inácio Lula da Silva to support a Senate proposal for a constitutional amendment that would automatically make crimes against journalists and against press freedom federal offenses.
The IAPA called on Brazils President Inácio Lula da Silva to support a Senate proposal for a constitutional amendment that would automatically make crimes against journalists and against press freedom federal offenses. The initiative by Paraíba state senator Roberto Cavalcanti of the Brazilian Republican Party (PRB), is based on proposals and conclusions discussed at the forum Shortcomings and Gaps in Justice: How to Prevent Impunity in Crimes Against the Press that the IAPA held in mid-May in Rio de Janeiro together with the Brazilian Association of Investigative Reporting (ABRAJI) and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio). The IAPA has worked for a similar act making such crimes federal offenses in Mexico and, in Peru, for the creation of a special jurisdiction to deal with cases of journalists murdered in revenge for their reports, an initiative that has already won the backing of the countrys judicial branch. Among the Rio forums other conclusions, relayed this week to President Lula da Silva and members of Brazils judicial and legislative branches, the following recommendations are made to the Brazilian government: That cases involving attempts upon the life and physical integrity of journalists because of their work be automatically transferred to federal jurisdiction and that by law such offenses be given priority on the trial calendar; That Federal Police and other SINASP (National Public Security Secretariat) agencies collaborate on the investigations, even though proceedings are handled in state courts; That task forces be appointed or groups from the Attorney Generals Office named for each case of attempt upon the life and physical integrity of journalists because of their profession, reinforcing the Federal Police and/or Attorney Generals Office, including with staff from other localities; That threatened journalists be included in the Human Rights Defenders Protection Program under the Brazilian Presidencys Department of Human Rights; That a legal aid fund be established to provide assistance in the defense of journalists prosecuted and threatened or their families (in homicide cases), to be funded voluntarily by members of the press; That the parole system, which has permitted reduced sentences and the escape of persons convicted of crimes against journalists, be subject to review.