By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Violence against the media in Brazil grew by over 65 percent in 2016 in comparison to 2015, making the country one of South America’s most dangerous countries to be a reporter, according to ABERT (Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters).
According to the entity, although the number of journalists murdered last year fell to two cases from eight in 2015, the total number of cases of violations of freedom of expression in Brazil jumped from 116 to 192, directly affecting 261 workers and media.
The violations recorded in 2016 place Brazil among the most dangerous countries for the practice of journalism, according to international organizations such as Reporters Without Borders.
The international entity revealed in its World Press Freedom ranking that the country fell five positions in 2016 and is now listed at number 104. The entity says that Brazil is the second most violent country in Latin America, behind only Mexico. Many of the violations occurred during the coverage of demonstrations and protests.
“What with threats, physical attacks during demonstrations, and murders, Brazil is one of Latin America’s most violent and dangerous countries for journalists. Protecting reporters is made much harder by the lack of a national mechanism for their protection and by a climate of impunity fueled by the ubiquitous corruption. Media ownership continues to be very concentrated, especially in the hands of big industrial families that are often close to the political class,” says Reporters without Borders.
Another NGO, Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), which acts as consultant to the United Nations, has placed Brazil among the ten most dangerous countries for the profession worldwide. The country is placed 6th in the NGO’s ranking, ahead of the Philippines, India, Afghanistan and Honduras, as one of the most dangerous places for reporters to work.
“It is difficult to understand how a democratic country with laws and institutions in operation like Brazil can surpass a scenario of terror like Afghanistan,” says the ABERT report commenting on the NGO’s ranking.