Brazil consults reporters for UN Action Plan to Protect journalists

By Isabela Fraga

The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji in Portuguese) sent its suggestions to the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for an Action Plan to improve the protection of journalists and combat impunity, reported Abraji's website. Invited by the Ministry of External Relations (Itamaraty in Portuguese), Abraji met with directors and associates to discuss points that should be included in the plan.

Some of Abraji's suggestions to Itamaraty included a better definition of the State's role in the implementation of the plan's anticipated actions, the creation of assessment tools for programs designed to protect human rights advocates, and consulting journalists, victims' families, judges, and advocates in violent countries during the plan's development.

UNESCO's draft Plan on Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity divides the action items into five types: cooperating with member states, working within the United Nations (UN) system, partnering with other organizations and institutions, raising awareness in cooperation with all stakeholders, and preventing attacks on journalists. To develop its recommendations, Abraji consulted representatives from the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Inter American Press Association, and Founder-Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas Rosental Calmon Alves.

Acceptance of the UN draft Plan on Safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity has had its highs and lows in Brazil. In April 2012, the Brazilian government refused to support the draft plan, alarming Brazilian journalists and international press organizations. In June, Ambassador Maria Luiz Ribeiro Viotti, permanent representative of Brazil to the UN, sent a letter to the Committee to Protect Journalists affirming the government's support for the program.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.