Miami (January 10, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the attacks against Brazilian journalists and foreign correspondents covering the invasion of the headquarters of three branches of government in Brasilia by supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro. The organization made a public call to respect journalistic work and reminded "freedom of the press is indispensable for the existence of democracy."
Press agencies, media, and journalists' organizations reported aggressions, threats, and robberies against local and foreign journalists, in the context of the assault by Bolsonaro's followers on the National Congress, the Planalto Palace, and the Supreme Court on January 8.
IAPA President Michael Greenspon and the chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, expressed the organization's "concern for the safety of press personnel during the performance of their news work." The IAPA officers warned about the increased danger journalists face covering social and political conflicts in the region. Last week the IAPA condemned the aggressions and acts of violence against journalists in Bolivia.
Greenspon, global director of Licensing and Print Innovation of The New York Times, United States, and Jornet, the editor of La Voz del Interior, Argentina, reminded the Brazilian authorities, "Freedom of the press is indispensable for the existence of democracy."
Among the aggressions were the violent beatings of a journalist for the New Yorker magazine and a photographer for the portal Metrópoles and Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. Reporters from the newspaper O Tempo and the radio and television network Jovem Pam were also assaulted and threatened with weapons. In addition, some photographers were forced to erase the images they had taken, and several journalists had their work equipment stolen. Aggressions were also reported against press workers of the Band channel, the Poder 360 website, the France-Presse, Reuters and EFE news agencies, and the Washington Post newspaper.
The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) and the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) counted 77 political violence attacks against the press between October 30, 2022, and January 6, 2023.
The IAPA Chapultepec Index from August 2021 to August 2022 shows Brazil in 15th place out of 22 states in terms of press freedom, mainly due to the aggressions of the previous national government against media and journalists.
The Chapultepec Index is an annual barometer that measures institutional actions that affect press freedom and freedom of expression in 22 countries of the Americas. The measurement is based on the principles of the IAPA declarations of Chapultepec and Salta.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.