Brazil continues to be a hostile place for journalists, two killed in recent months


On 12th August 2018, Jorginho Guajajara, an indigenous leader of the Guajajara community, was found dead in the city of Arame. Reports indicate that Guajajara's death was link to his work protecting the forest from illegal logging. There is currently a conflict in the region due to a logging mafia operating in the territory who is constantly threatening the community. 

In a separate incident, Debora Diniz, a reproductive rights activist, has denounce death threats made against her over the last few months.The attacks came in the context of a Supreme Court hearing that is challenging the current criminal code in Brazil, which criminalises abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Human Rights Watch said

“It is deeply disturbing that Debora Diniz is facing death threats and was forced to enter police protection because she is defending women’s rights to make fundamental decisions about their bodies and lives."

The United Nations office in Brazil also condemned the attacks against the activist, which is occurring "in an increasingly hostile environment for human right defenders in Brazil".

Peaceful Assembly

On 17th July 2018, the Court of Justice of Río de Janeiro convicted and sentenced 20 protesters to seven years imprisonment and three minors to five years and ten months for their participation in protests in 2013 and 2014 against corruption, and against public expenditure to host the World Cup and the Olympics while austerity measures were being discussed in the country. They were accused of organised crime, corruption of minors, criminal damage, causing bodily harm and possession of explosives.

As a response, on 24th July the campaign “It’s not just about the 23, it’s about all those who fight,” was launched in support on the protesters. 

Civil society organsiations sent a letter to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Peaceful Assembly and of Association stating that the allegations made against the protesters were intended to criminalise the right to peaceful assembly.


On 21st June 2018, radio journalist Jairo Sousa was was killed by two unidentified persons who shot him twice in the back when he was arriving at Rádio Pérola FM, the radio station where he hosted a program. Sousa was known in the region for reporting on corruption, drug trafficking and crimes and had received threats before his death. The Committee to Protect Journalists said:

"The killing of Jairo Sousa is a reminder that journalists working outside Brazil's major urban areas face the highest risk in the country." 

On 16th August 2018, radio journalist Marlon de Carvalho Araújo, was shot dead inside his home by four men who broke into his home in the middle of the night. Reports indicate that Araújo posted a video the day before, where he said would disclose the name of a councilmen who was allegedly involved in corruption. Freedom of expression organisation, Article 19 said that officers investigating the case confirmed that the main motivation for the crime is Araújo's journalistic work. 

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement calling on the authorities to:

"[C]onduct a thorough investigation into yesterday’s murder of Marlon Carvalho, a radio station presenter and reporter in the northeastern state of Bahia, and to focus on the hypothesis that he was killed in connection with his journalism."

On 30th July 2018, Guilherme Dearo, the chief assistant of the news site Examereceived death threats after he published a post criticising racist comments in relation to a Father´s Day advertising campaign by the company O Boticário. The campaign showed a black family who were the target of negative comments by racists groups.

In another development, Brazil approved the General Data Protection Law on August 14th 2018. The legislation establishes basic data protection rights for Brazilians and will come into effect in 2020. Although a "rich debate and public consultation" took place during the development of the law, President Temer vetoed essentials provisions of the bill, like the establishment of an independent data protection authority.