Impunity Brazil


WHEREAS João Miranda do Carmo, who operated the website "SAD Sem Censura," was killed on July 24, 2016, in Santo Antônio de Descoberto (Goiás); his site disseminated stories on police cases and local problems; and the police have taken a suspect into custody

WHEREAS Maurício Campos Rosa, editor of the newspaper O Grito and contributor to the Diário de Notícias group, was killed on August 17, 2016, in Santa Luzia (Minas Gerais); he had reported in the newspaper on the irregular involvement of city council members in a trash collection cooperative

WHEREAS Manoel Messias Pereira was injured in an attack in April 2016 and his death was confirmed on July 12, 2016; he had operated a blog on local politics for the website "Sediverte Noticias" in Grajaú, Maranhão

WHEREAS the police have not ruled out the possibility that these crimes are related to the journalists' work

WHEREAS the Brazilian Senate and Chamber of Deputies are considering a number of bills that would establish federal jurisdiction over crimes committed against journalists in the course of their work and would classify the killing of a journalist as a heinous crime; these bills include Senate Bill 329/2016, introduced by Senator Acir Gurgacz (PDT-RO), which would make it a heinous crime to kill a journalist for reasons related to his or her work; Bill 7107/2014, introduced by Deputy Domingos Sávio (PSDB-MG), which classifies as heinous any crime against the life, safety or physical integrity of a journalist or media professional in the course of his or her work; Bill 191/2015, introduced by Deputy Vicentinho (PT/SP), which would amend Law 10446 of May 8, 2002, to order the involvement of Federal Police in investigating crimes involving failure or inefficacy of the authorities with regular jurisdiction or involving violence against journalism; and Senate Bill 665/2015, introduced by Senator Paulo Bauer (PSDB-SC), which would add a provision to Article 1 of Law 10446/2002 "to establish that, in the event of interstate or international repercussions that call for a uniform response, the Federal Police Department of the Ministry of Justice may investigate criminal offenses against communications professionals of radio, television, print media, online and new media outlets for reasons related to their work and with the aim of undermining freedom of expression"

WHEREAS Senate Bill 743/2011, introduced by Senator Marcelo Crivella (PRB-RJ); Senate Bill 699/2011, introduced by former Senator Vital do Rêgo; and Senate Bill 2658/2011, introduced by Deputy Lindomar Garçon (PV-RO), are still pending; these bills would require journalism professionals to use bulletproof vests and other personal protective equipment when engaged in high-risk coverage

WHEREAS 18 communications professionals who were assaulted during demonstrations in São Paulo in 2013 were heard by the public prosecutor's office at a hearing held on September 28, 2016, in conjunction with the Journalists Union of São Paulo State, the Brazilian Forum on Public Safety, Artigo 19, Instituto Sou da Paz, and the Center for Studies on Violence at the University of São Paulo; according to Paulo Zocchi, president of the Journalists Union of São Paulo State, more than 150 attacks by state agents against journalists at demonstrations have been reported; human rights prosecutor Eduardo Valério, who chaired the public hearing, said that the testimony will serve as evidence in a civil investigation and will be used to make structural changes in police forces

WHEREAS the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) sent representatives to Brazil to collect testimony and other information on claims of violence, intimidation, and violations of journalists' freedom of expression during street demonstrations in various cities throughout the country since 2013; the IACHR's special rapporteur on freedom of expression, Uruguayan attorney and journalist Edison Lanza, said that the report should be completed in early 2017, when it will be presented to the plenary of the commission

WHEREAS the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI) recorded and verified 300 cases from June 2013 to September 26, 2016, involving violations against journalists who were covering street demonstrations throughout the country

WHEREAS on August 16, 2016, Judge Olavo Zampol Júnior of the 10th Circuit Court of São Paulo denied the claim for damages brought by news photographer Sérgio Andrade da Silva, who had lost sight in his left eye after being struck by rubber bullets fired by police while he was covering a June 2013 mass demonstration in downtown São Paulo against bus fare hikes; the judge claimed that "the plaintiff, by placing himself between the demonstrators and police and remaining in the line of fire in order to take photographs, placed himself in a high-risk situation, thereby assuming the consequences that could potentially ensue"; this ruling is a direct blow to freedom of information and opens the door for assaults against journalists in the course of their work

WHEREAS no ruling has been issued in the appeals filed by the defendants in the July 5, 2012, killing of sports journalist Valério Luiz de Oliveira in the state of Goiás; charged with the crime are businessman Maurício Sampaio, president of Atlético Clube Goianense, the soccer team from Goiânia, a post to which he was selected while awaiting, as a free man, the decision on his appeal against the indictment, as well as Urbano de Carvalho Malta, Marcus Vinícius Pereira Xavier, Ademá Figueredo and Djalma da Silva; all of the defendants were ordered to stand trial by jury; their appeal was denied by the Court of Justice of Goiás, and they are now awaiting a ruling on an interlocutory appeal to the Superior Court of Justice seeking to have the other appeals ruled admissible

WHEREAS the killings of Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva on August 29, 1995, in São Gonçalo, Rio de Janeiro; Edgar Lopes de Faria on October 29, 1997, in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul; José Carlos Mesquita on March 10, 1998, in Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia; and Luiz Otávio Monteiro on December 29, 1988, in Manaus, Amazonas, continue to go unpunished

WHEREAS the amicable settlement between the Brazilian government and the IAPA, which was mediated by the IACHR with regard to the January 14, 1998, killing of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in Itabuna, Bahia, and which called for the case to be reopened so that those who had ordered the killing could be identified and punished, has not been fulfilled

WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: "Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly."


To request that the military and civil police officers involved in the arbitrary detention of journalists be investigated and prosecuted, so that they may be held accountable for abuse of authority

To request that the civil and military police forces, the prosecutorial authorities and the judiciaries of all states in Brazil be urged to refrain from violating constitutional rights based on the democratic principles of the rule of law; on the express provisions in the Brazilian Constitution on freedom of expression, freedom of information and the freedom to practice one's profession; and on due process of law

To demand that measures be taken to identify and harshly punish those responsible for threats, assaults and attacks on media professionals in the course of their work

To request that governments and security forces at the municipal, state and federal levels ensure the ability of journalists to work freely, without censorship, intimidation, assaults, or restrictions on their work, while protecting their full freedom of movement

To request that media companies strengthen protective equipment for use by media professionals in the course of their work

To request that the amicable settlement reached with assistance from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights be fulfilled to punish the mastermind(s) behind the 1998 killing of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira in Itabuna, Bahia, recalling that Brazil is a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights and, as such, has agreed to uphold the provisions of this convention as of 1992

To request that the witness protection program and the protection program for human rights advocates be continued, while ensuring the provision of resources and structure for these programs to operate in a dignified and effective manner

To demand that police chiefs, forensic experts, detectives and prosecutors be provided the support and conditions they need to identify and punish those responsible for the killings of media professionals in the course of their work, including the longest-standing cases, so that these crimes do not go unpunished

To request support for the passage of laws to establish federal jurisdiction over cases involving killings of journalists in the course of their work in the event of failure or inefficacy of the authorities with regular jurisdiction over these cases, or in the event that witnesses or local authorities are subjected to pressure; and to request the consideration of laws to classify the killing of journalists as a heinous crime.