Union highlights risks journalists face in the interior of Brazilian state of São Paulo

The São Paulo State Union of Professional Journalists denounced threats journalists received and other obstacles they faced while reporting in the interior of the state at the beginning of 2013, according to a statement form the organization on Feb. 13.

In one case, the former mayor of Catanduva and other members of the city's current administration attacked journalists Elaine Trevisan and video reporter Augusto Pires. In Araraquara, the president of the city council blocked photojournalist Raphael Cruz from covering an event at the city hall, claiming that only "official media" had access to the assembly floor.

The union also reported a death threat against Rodrigo Lima, journalist for the newspaper Diário Regional, from city councilman Cesar Gelsi, in São José do Rio Preto. The journalist accused the councilman of failing to pay backed taxes.

The organization condemned the attacks, considering them obstacles to the free practice of journalism. "Those who pursue and threaten journalists because of their profession, often raise their voices for freedom of expression. But when they feel harmed, they cowardly lash out with threats or prohibit the practice of the profession. We are going to fight these arbitrary acts and demand retraction," said union secretary José Eduardo.

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.

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