Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speaks with notes written on his left hand during a conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 23, 2022. CPJ recently joined a letter calling for Brazilian presidential candidates to commit to ensuring the safety of journalists covering elections. (AFP/Miguel Schincariol)

Press freedom groups call for Brazilian presidential candidates to ensure safety of journalists covering elections

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined 10 other civil society groups and press freedom organizations this week in a letter to all Brazilian presidential candidates, urging them, their political parties, and parties’ coalitions to commit to ensuring that journalists can report safely and freely during upcoming elections in Brazil.

In the letter, the organizations highlighted concerns about increasing violence against journalists and threats to press freedom in the country. The “Letter of commitment to freedom of the press and the safety of journalists in the 2022 elections” requests that candidates commit to seven actions during the electoral period, including publicly condemning violence toward journalists, ensuring equal access to information and campaign events, and refraining from using lawsuits or other legal proceedings to retaliate against or attempt to censor the press.  

Representatives of three out of the four highest ranking candidates in the polls have acknowledged receipt of the letter: former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party), Ciro Gomes (Democratic Labor Party), and Simone Tebet (Brazilian Democratic Movement). The campaign coordinators for President Jair Bolsonaro (Liberal Party), who is running for reelection, did not acknowledge receipt of the letter or reply to an email from a representative of the 11 organizations, asking for a commitment to press freedom and journalists’ safety.

The full letter is available in Portuguese here.