Journalists fined and kept from entering occupied Belo Monte dam construction site in Brazil

Three journalists were ejected from a Brazilian construction site where indigenous protesters have paralyzed work on a dam in the Brazilian state of Pará on Friday, May 3, World Press Freedom Day. Two were removed from the site by nearly 100 national police officers and the third was fined roughly $500, according to the website Terra.

Reuters photographer Lunaé Parracho, public relations officer for the Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI), Ruy Sposati, and a Radio France Internationale correspondent in Brazil, François Cardona, were expelled from the area following a ruling from the state court of Altamira, according to a report published by Parracho and Sposati on the CIMI website.

Sposati told Terra on Sunday, May 5, "Two photographers and two television crews were also blocked from entering the area. Police threatened to jail one of the journalists if he entered the construction site."

In response to the situation, protesters released a statement on May 4, titled "Deixem os jornalistas aqui," let the journalists in, in which they expressed their concern about the press blackout at the site. According to the document, "journalistic coverage is very helpful" for "getting our voices out to the world."

This is not the first time journalists have been blocked from covering demonstrations at the Belo Monte dam site. At the end of 2011 Sposati was threatened when he reported on layoffs by the Belo Monte Construction Consortium in Altamira.

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.