Brazil: New documentary addresses the complicity of authorities in crimes against freedom of expression

Brazil: New documentary addresses the complicity of authorities in crimes against freedom of expression - Protection

To address the involvement of local authorities in crimes against freedom of expression, ARTICLE 19 has launched “Impunidade mata” (“Impunity kills”), a mini-documentary which tells the story of investigative journalist Rodrigo Neto, killed by three gunshots in 2013, in the city of Ipatinga, in Brazil.

Neto used to cover police news and, according to an investigation by police authorities, was killed because of his work as a reporter. Neto often focussed on reporting police involvement in crimes in Ipatinga, a city situated in the Vale do Aço region, where he was ultimately killed.

The crime shocked journalists and had international repercussions, mobilizing both state and federal authorities. Neto’s co-workers created the “Rodrigo Neto Committee” to demand that his murder be investigated and those responsible for the crime punished.

As a result, two men were sentenced to prison, one of them a police officer. People close to Neto, however, claim that not everyone involved in the crime was held accountable.

“Impunidade mata” features testimony from Neto’s co-workers, president of the Union of Journalists of Minas Gerais, Kerison Lopes, and former Brazilian minister of Human Rights Maria do Rosario.

“The film reflects on how to address the involvement of political authorities and police in crimes against communicators, a reality in many regions of Brazil, which has big effect on the resolution of crimes. Neto’s case shows that the involvement of multiple government bodies can be decisive for the advancement of investigation”, says Julia Lima, Freedom of Expression Protection and Security officer from ARTICLE 19 South America.

“Impunidade mata” is the second of a trilogy of films dealing with impunity in crimes against communicators. The first, entitled “Impunidade cega” (Impunity blinds), was released in December last year and discussed the history of photographer Alex Silveira, who lost part of his sight after being hit by a rubber bullet shot during a demonstration; the Judiciary found him responsible for his own injury.