Brazilian information activists boycott seminar after refusal to release documents

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  • November 8, 2010

By Maira Magro

The National Archive of Brazil’s Revealed Memories project (Memórias Reveladas) – created to facilitate the release of dictatorship-era documents (1964-1985) – is now at the center of a debate between journalists and the authorities after its refusal to release documents during the election, O Globo reports. The document project justified its decision by claiming “journalists were misusing documents and seeking data about candidates involved in the electoral campaign.”

As a result, Fernando Rodrigues, the president of the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji), and Claudio Weber Abramo, the executive director of Transparency Brazil have decided to boycott an information access conference organized by the National Archive.

The refusal of the National Archive to open access to public domain documents, coupled with their arguments for this refusal, show that the institution has acted in a form that is incompatible with the motivation for the seminar in question,” Abramo said in a letter to the head of the archive, quoted by Abraji. Abraji also released a statement denouncing the “censorship’ of military dictatorship-era documents.

The Revealed Memories project was created in May 2009 by then minister and now President-elect Dilma Rousseff to facilitate access to documents on the dictatorship. Ironically, it was Rousseff’s own past that lead to interest in materials from the project.

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.