Journalists assaulted while covering City Council in Rio de Janeiro

Four journalists were assaulted and hospitalized on Friday, Aug. 22, while covering the first session of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI in Portuguese) on bus transportation of the Rio de Janeiro City Council, reported the News site G1.

Julio Molica and Antonia Martinho, with Globonews, were pushed out of the building by protesters, which according to the media outlet, were associated with security forces contracted to support the CPI. Band Sergio Colonesi, a filmmaker,  and Cirilo Júnior, a reporter with Terra, also suffered injuries in the middle of a struggle with the “black blocs”, as some protesters are known as, according to UOL.

On Aug. 19, journalists were targets of pepper-spraying military police officers  during protests occurring on Rio's Catete Street. Last week, the videographer for SBT, Rafael Santos, sustained injuries from a thrown rock, in São Paulo.

In a statement, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji) reaffirmed its concern over the current climate of hostility against the press.

"Aggressive actions against journalists are becoming dangerously common. Democracy is not compatible with attitudes that go against the right to inform all of society. Abraji stands with the victims and calls for a cease in this actions,” the organization said.

Suzana Blass, president of Rio’s local reporters' union, along with its director Rogério Marques, met with Military Police commander Col. José Luís Castro Menezes, to demand an end to attacks on journalists and to punish those police officers involved, according to Agência Brasil.

Since the beginning of the protests against a rise in bus fares, several media professionals have been targets of police and protester attacks, as well as arbitrarily arrested as they cover the events. According to Abraji, more than 60 journalists have been attacked or threatened.

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.