On the 3rd of May, World Press Freedom Day, ARTICLE 19 South America will launch “Violations of Freedom of Expression – Annual Report 2014,” the result of a process of monitoring and investigation of violations in Brazil against freedom of expression during the past year.
The report records and analyzes serious violations – murders, attempted murders, death threats and torture – that occurred against two specific groups of people: 1) communicators (journalists, broadcasters, bloggers, etc.) and 2) human rights defenders (rural leaders, trade unionists, association members, etc).
In all cases, people have been victims of violation as a result of activities related to freedom of expression – such as the publication of a story, the mobilization of a community or the organization of a demonstration.
In total, there were 55 cases of violations of freedom of expression in 2014, an increase of 15% compared to 2013, when 45 cases were recorded.
Of the 55 cases, 15 were homicides, 11 were attempted murders, 28 were death threats and one of them, torture.
The report found that more human rights defenders were victims of violations than communicators. Moreover, in many cases, state agents – like politicians and policemen – were behind the violations, especially violations against communicators.
The Southeast region was where most of the violations occurred – 17 cases. 32 cases happened in small towns (with up to 100,000 inhabitants).
“We collected and aggregated the data to show that these violations and crimes do not occur out of nowhere, but rather represent systematic violations intended to prevent discussion of certain issues in our society,” said Julia Lima from the Article 19 Freedom of Expression Protection program, who was also responsible for the report.
“When we look at the commonalities among these occurrences, such as the profiles of the alleged perpetrators involved, we can address the issue more broadly and call on the State to not only resolve the cases included in the report, but also to develop preventive public policies”, she added.