By Maira Magro
The Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Catalina Botero, said access to public information in Brazil is an important tool for understanding what happened during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). She argued that the release of such documents, however, cannot be accompanied by any type of rules on the use of the documents by journalists or other members of the public. "Media outlets have the responsibility to manage news, but beyond guaranteeing access, the law cannot establish restrictions on the use of information,” she said.
However, she said information that violates the right to privacy of dictatorship victims should be redacted to protect their identities. “Victimizing them once again is not just.”
The Revaled Memories project – created to facilitate access to dictatorship-era documents – has been the center of recent controversy for refusing to release some documents about then presidential candidate Dilma Rousseff's detention during the dictatorship because of the election and fears of journalist "misuse." In protest, representatives from the Brazilian Investigative Journalism Association (Abraji) and Transparency Brazil refused to participate in the seminar.
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.