Fenaj: Brazil registers one aggression against a journalist per day in 2022

In 2022, 376 cases of aggression against journalists and communication vehicles were registered in Brazil, which is equivalent to practically one case per day. The data is from Report on Violence Against Journalists and Freedom of the Press in Brazil – 2022released today (25) by the National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj).

According to the survey, the numbers, although high, are lower than those of 2021, a record year since the beginning of the historical series made by the federation, when 430 cases were recorded. Despite the 12.53% drop compared to the previous year, the report finds that direct attacks on journalists have increased in all regions of the country.

The report points out that discrediting the press was again the most frequent form of violence in 2022, despite having decreased by 33.59% compared to the previous year. There were 87 cases of generic and generalized attacks, which sought to disqualify journalistic information. In 2021, there were 131 episodes.

According to the study, there was an increase of 133.33% in the occurrences of threats, harassment and intimidation, which was the second category with the highest number of occurrences in 2022, with 77 cases (44 more than the 33 registered in 2021).

Then comes censorship, which was the category of violence with the highest number of cases in 2021, and fell to the third position in 2022. “The drop was 54.96% and most likely was due to the decrease in the number denunciations and not the episodes themselves, the vast majority in Brazil Communications Company (EBC)”, says Fenaj.

Verbal aggression fell by 20.69% compared to the previous year. But physical aggression increased by 88.46%, from 26 to 49. Impediments to professional practice grew by 200%: there were seven cases in 2021 and 21 in 2022.

There was also a significant increase (125%) in cyber attacks on communication vehicles, from four to nine episodes.

“Former President Jair Bolsonaro, as in the previous three years, was the main aggressor. Alone, he was responsible for 104 cases (27.66% of the total), with 80 episodes of discrediting the press and 24 direct attacks on journalists (10 verbal attacks and 14 harassments)”, says Fenaj.

According to the president of Fenaj, Samira de Castro, this result can be explained by the political tension in the country. “Society goes through this moment of political tension to question established institutions. The press is one such institution. So we need an institutional discourse that values ​​professional journalism from now on, so that society itself can understand that when it attacks a journalist, it is depriving itself of the right to be informed.”

Samira points out ways to reverse the situation. “It takes awareness campaigns, the installation of the National Observatory of Violence against Journalists, a national security protocol with the police forces because they are also aggressive forces against the press. And based on all of this, society will once again understand that journalism is indeed a form of immediate knowledge of reality and that it establishes a human right, which is to be informed and be able to know your immediate reality from the work of the reporters, of reporters, in short, of all journalists.”

Still according to the president of Fenaj, journalists should not naturalize the aggressions suffered and need to immediately seek professional unions and police stations when they are victims of any type of aggression. “Impunity fuels all violence against the category.”

The Midwest region continues to be the most violent for press professionals. The Federal District is the leader in the number of cases, with 30.57% of the records, which is equivalent to 88 occurrences. “There is the seat of central power. After the result of the second round of the presidential election, there were many attacks on journalists”, said Samira.

The report also highlights the brutal murder of British journalist Dom Phillips, in an ambush, along with indigenist Bruno Pereira, in Atalaia do Norte, in Amazonas. “The murder of Dom Phillips was the only fatal attack on a journalist recorded in 2022, but the international repercussions showed the world the seriousness of the Brazilian situation in terms of violence against journalists and other human rights defenders”, says Fenaj.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News