World Press Freedom Day: Brazil victory for Amazon defenders

World Press Freedom Day: Brazil victory for Amazon defenders - Protection

Alessandra Sampaio (widow of British journalism Dom Phillips), relatives, and friends at a demonstration on 5 June 2023, one year after Dom and Bruno were killed in the Amazon, Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Photo: Pilar Olivares/Reuters

In December 2023, Brazil’s government committed to investigating the murder of Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips, killed in in 2022 for investigating organised crime in the Amazon. The Ministry of Human Rights inaugurated a Working Group of government representatives, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and civil society organisations – including ARTICLE 19 Brazil and South America – to:

  • fully investigate the murders;
  • protect land rights activists in the Vale do Javari Indigenous territory, who have received death threats for seeking justice for Bruno and Dom; and
  • implement measures to ensure such a tragedy cannot be repeated.

From the goldmines of Brazil to the mangroves of Bangladesh, journalists are fundamental to exposing this crisis: what’s happening, how it’s affecting people, and who’s responsible. Their reporting equips us with the information we need to hold governments and corporations accountable.

Yet because they expose corruption and speak truth to power, environmental journalists face significant risks. Some pay the ultimate price, like Bruno Pereira and Dom Phillips. Most experience less extreme yet still pernicious attacks, like online harassment and abusive litigation. All of these attacks are deplorable and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

But when we raise our voices together, we can protect journalists, defend press freedom, and hold the powerful accountable for their obligations – to society, to our planet, and to future generations.

Cases like Bruno and Dom show the urgent need for innovative strategies to protect journalists, environmentalists, and Indigenous peoples in Latin America.

This was a huge victory for civil society – and ARTICLE 19 was heavily involved at every step of the way.

ARTICLE 19’s Central and South America offices will be raising awareness of their progress, sharing strategies, and pushing for better protections for environmental defenders throughout May.


Find out more about ARTICLE 19’s events for this year’s ‘A Press for Planet’ theme for World Press Freedom Day.

Visit our Events page