Brazilian journalists coming under fire in run up to world events
A new report has found that many Brazilian journalists have been the subject of violence as the country prepares to come under the global eye with major international events.
When a country prepares for worldwide occasions like the World Cup or Olympics, it often needs to under go massive infrastructure upgrades. On top of this, many of the sociopolitical issues that the country is struggling with are put under the microscope by both international and domestic journalists.
This is certainly the case in Brazil, a country that is emerging as a global presence, but still struggling with many socio-economic issues. Because of the intensified scrutiny on the country, growing frequency of protests and the need for the government to quell international concerns about the soon-to-arrive 2014 World Cup, critical journalism has become more frequent.
Attacks on journalists
Unfortunately, this reporting has come at a price. The Index on Censorship indicated that a report from the Council for the Defense of the Human Person (CDPH) recently found that attacks on journalists have increased by 232 percent over the last year. Specifically, instances of violence against media workers rose to 136 in 2013, up from 41 in 2012.
This intensified violence makes the Brazil one of the most dangerous places for journalists to work in the world. The Index on Censorship noted that shortly after the CDPH published its study, two journalists were the target of police during the eviction of a favela in Rio de Janeiro.
Protestors have been growing increasingly active in the run up to the World Cup, especially as the government looks to evict families from the slums surrounding Rio.
Balancing media freedom
The country finds itself at a crossroads given its position as an emerging nation. The nation's emerging middle class has played an integral role in the direction that the country has been moving in. One of the products of this has been a growing online population.
Recently, the country drafted a bill that would act as an online Bill of Rights aimed at guaranteeing the rights of citizens online when it comes to free expression, privacy and net neutrality, according to the BBC. While the bill is certainly a step in the right direction, many of the provisions it guarantees seem to be running counter to the free speech issues that many journalists have encountered.
Brazil is not immune to the challenges of becoming an emerging nation, but in order to become a truly free and open democracy, it needs to better address the issues facing journalists.