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Military police beat journalist unconscious in Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Police block a road to contain a demonstration against the 2014 World Cup in Belo Horizonte
Police block a road to contain a demonstration against the 2014 World Cup in Belo Horizonte

REUTERS/Stringer/Brazil/Nereu Jr

Reporters Without Borders condemns the military police's shocking use of violence against the journalist Karinny de Magalhães while she was covering a protest against the FIFA World Cup in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state, for the Midia NINJA online news collective on 12 June 2014.

The military police insulted and beat Magalhães and then took her to a police station, where they hit her repeatedly again, causing her to lose consciousness.

“Magalhães was subjected to inhuman treatment,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “The Brazilian authorities must do everything possible to protect journalists during the World Cup. A United Nations resolution adopted in March says that it is essential that journalists are protected while covering protests.”

According to Midia NINJA, an organization that is partly journalistic, partly activist, Magalhães was using her mobile phone to film a peaceful demonstration with the theme "Copa sem povo, tô na rua de novo" ("World Cup without the people, everyone in the streets again").

When the police began using teargas to disperse the protest, about ten of them chased and caught Magalhães, and then beat her, saying “You [journalists] are the cancer of the world, you should all die!” After taking her to a police station, they took her telephone and, when she refused to tell them the PIN, beat her unconscious.

Around 120 journalists have been the victims of violations of the freedom of information since a wave of protests began in Brazil in June 2013. According to the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI), more than 80 per cent of these abuses are attributable to the military police, whose extremely violent methods have often been condemned by Reporters Without Borders.

Brazil is ranked 111th of the 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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