Brazil: Report shows journalists and communicators are killed with impunity

  • ARTICLE 19 report shows journalists and communicators in Brazil are being killed with impunity.
  • The monitoring of 22 murders suggests that bloggers and broadcasters in small towns are at greatest risk of being killed for their investigations.
  • ARTICLE 19 calls on public authorities to investigate unsolved monitors and work to prevent future attacks.

The international freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19, has published a report that shows the brutal reality faced by many journalists and communicators in Brazil. The Cycle of Silence: Impunity in Murders of Communicators in Brazil, monitors 22 cases where communicators are believed to have been killed for their work.  The failed or non-existent investigations into many of the cases means that the people who ordered the killings may never be brought to justice.

Laura Tresca, Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 South America said:

“Our report shows the extreme threats and violence faced by many communicators in Brazil today. These brutal murders should be condemned and the victims’ families given justice.

“The death of a communicator has wider implications for Brazilian society. The victims in this report were silenced for speaking out about corruption and crime. Their murders create a climate of fear and self-censorship that prevents others from holding our politicians, authorities and corporations to account.

“We call on the federal government, the state, the prosecutor’s office, international organizations, civil society organizations and also the media to take a stand against crimes against journalists. Not only must justice be delivered for those who have been killed, but we must work together to prevent future attacks.”

ARTICLE 19’s report monitored 22 cases where media workers were murdered between 2012 to 2016, across 11 Brazilian states. The victims included broadcasters, journalists, media outlet owners and a photographer. Many of the victims suffered terrible brutality, such as 67 year-old Evany José Metzker, who was tied up, tortured and decapitated in Vale do Jequitinhonha.

The findings of the report include:

  • Bloggers and broadcasters who work for themselves or for small organisations appear to be more at risk of being killed.
  • Communicators in small cities also appear to be more at risk, possibly because they are closer to the politicians, businesses and criminals that they are investigating or reporting on.
  • The majority of murders appear to have been carried out by hired hitmen, on the orders of others.
  • More crimes were solved when the primary line of investigation into the possible motive for the crime was the victim’s activity as a communicator and where there was no delay in the initial investigation.

Read the full report 


For more information, please contact Pam Cowburn: [email protected] 00 44 7749 785 932.

Notes to Editors

The report is available here:

ARTICLE 19 is an international organisation that campaigns for the right to freedom of expression.

The report monitored 22 cases that took place between 2012 and 2016.  The first 12 were covered in the first edition of this report, published in 2016, and have been updated in this edition. The 10 new cases are described in more details in this report. Previous cases (from 2012, 2013 and 2014) and new cases (from 2015 and 2016) are presented separately for comparative analysis and to highlight how the situation of communicators dying has changed in Brazil.