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International organization calls for law to combat rising impunity in Brazil for crimes against journalists

The International Press Institute released a statement on Monday, Feb. 18, warning of rising impunity for crimes against journalists in Brazil and insisting the Congress approve a bill that would allow federal authorities to investigate attacks on press workers in the country.

According to the organization, rules should be approved to facilitate the prosecution of those who commit crimes against journalists. Bill 1078/2011 proposes that federal police investigate these crimes and that the trials be handled by federal courts to avoid meddling by local police who could be under political influence. The bill has been waiting for a decision from the Chamber of Deputies' Public Security and Combating Organized Crime Commission since May 2011.

"This impunity is fueling a cycle of violence against the few reporters brave enough to address delicate topics such as drug smuggling and local corruption," said IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills in the statement.

The statement cites the killings of journalists Raulo Rocaro and Luis Henrique Georges in the city of Ponta Porã, Mato Grosso do Sul, along the border with Paraguay. Along with the journalists, a police officer investigating the crime was killed. The crimes remain unsolved.

"Brazil is now among the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere for journalists,” said IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills. “Troublingly, as the number of media killings has risen, the will or the ability to bring those responsible to justice appears to be lagging."

In 2012, Reporters Without Borders named Brazil the fifth most dangerous country in the world for journalists. Last year, five journalists died because of their reporting while threats forced others to flee the country, like investigative reporter Mauro König and Folha de São Paulo newspaper reporter André Caramante.


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