In Brazil, journalists face injury from violent protests and accusations of bias

Felipe Souza was covering an anti-government protest in São Paulo earlier this month when a line of riot police advanced toward him. Souza was facing the officers and wearing a helmet, a gas mask (to protect him from tear gas) and a bullet-proof vest that identified him as a reporter for BBC Brasil. As the troops got closer, he stood with his back to a wall and raised his hands to show he was unarmed and unthreatening. The gesture was futile. ” ‘Get out of the way! Move! Move!’ at least four officers said before hitting me with their batons on my right forearm, my left hand, my right shoulder, my chest, and my right leg,” Souza recounted in a piece for the BBC Brasil website. “One of them called me garbage.”
Souza escaped without serious injury but the incident is indicative of the increasing dangers faced by journalists covering Brazil’s tumultuous political and social movements.
The country has faced turmoil since 2013, when millions took to the streets to protest issues including rising bus fares, extravagant spending on World Cup stadiums, and a lack of investment in health, education, and social services. In August President Dilma Rousseff, who was elected for a first term in 2010 and re-elected four years later, was removed from office after a drawn-out impeachment process that many criticized as illegitimate. Protesters both for and against her impeachment have taken to the streets to show their support or opposition and journalists–particularly at demonstrations in support of her presidency and against her successor Michel Temer–have come under fire on a regular basis. Since those first demonstrations in May 2013, at least 293 journalists, bloggers, and photographers have been victims of aggression while covering street protests, according to the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI).

via cpj: In Brazil, journalists face injury from violent protests and accusations of bias

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