Editors and journalists from some of the world’s largest news organizations have written to Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, asking him to “urgently step up efforts and provide full resources” to find Missing British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous defender Bruno Pereira.
Led by the Guardian and The Washington Post, two newspapers Phillips served as freelance correspondent for, and editors from at least 20 media and press freedom organizations, signed the open letter published on Thursday.
Other signatories include senior editors from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Folha de S. Paulo, National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, Associated Press, Financial Times, Pulitzer Center, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, ProPublica, The Intercept and Agência Pública de Jornalismo. Investigativo, Dagens Nyheter, Mongabay, Stat, Reporters Without Borders, The Wallace House Center for Journalists, epbr.
“We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the safety and whereabouts of our colleague and friend Dom Phillips, and Bruno Araujo Pereira, with whom Dom has been traveling. Dom is a globally respected journalist and deeply loved Brazil and its people,” read the letter, which was also addressed to the Brazilian Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs.
“As you know from many press reports, Dom and Bruno are now missing in the Amazon for more than three days. Their families, friends and colleagues have repeatedly requested assistance from local, state and national authorities and emergency services.
“As editors and colleagues who have worked with Dom, we are now deeply concerned by reports from Brazil that search and rescue efforts have so far been under-resourced, with national authorities slow to provide more than very limited assistance.
“We ask that you urgently and fully resource the effort to locate Dom and Bruno, and give all possible support to their families and friends.”
The two men were last seen on Sunday morning on the Itaqui River in far western Brazil.
Phillips was working on a book on rainforest development and was accompanied by Pereira, an explorer who had worked with indigenous tribes in the area for years.
The area to which they had gone to travel was far away and the search efforts were slow. In the hours after the two men were reported missing, the Brazilian military said it was waiting for orders before starting the search.
By Wednesday, as public pressure mounted amid campaigns by such high profile figures as football legend Pele, singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso and actor Camila Pitanga, officials said they had ramped up their operations, with 250 people, two planes, three drones and 16 ships involved in the search.
Police announced they had arrested a man who sources said had been seen with Phillips and Pereira, but officials said they did not directly link him to any crime.
Meanwhile, press organizations have united to pressure a government that has shown disdain for the media since taking power in 2019.
The Brazilian extremist president has repeatedly attacked the press, even single-handedly insulting reporters.
Bolsonaro even seemed to blame Phillips and Pereira for their own problems when he described their reporting trip as “an adventure that no one would advise.”
in editorialThe Guardian has called on governments and organizations to put pressure on the far-right leader.
“It is unlikely that the government would change course without international pressure,” she said. “You must first take advantage of that to provide an appropriate response to this disappearance.”
The full list of signatories to the letter
Kathryn Viner, Editor-in-Chief of Guardian News & Media
Sally Busby, Executive Editor, TIt is the Washington Post
Dean Paquet, Executive Editor, TIt’s the New York Times
Sergio Davila, editor-in-chief of Folha de S.Paulo
Nancy Barnes, Sniorice-presiding in news and eDrNPR . Manager
John Micklethwait, Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief
Julie Pace, Senior Vice President and Hstraight eDetour, tIt’s the Associated Press
Juan Forero, South America Chief of Staff, The Wall Street Journal
Marina Walker Guevara, Estraight eDetour, Pulitzer Center
Rosina Brin, Editor in Chief and Executive Director of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Stephen Engelberg, Editor in Chief ProPublica
Paul Webster, Editor, Tthe monitor
Jason Oakman, Managing Editor, Stat
Thiago Domenici, Director of Agência Pública de Jornalismo Investigativo
Rhett Butler, PFounder and CEO, Mongabay
Peter Lodarsky, Editor-in-Chief of Dagens Nyheter
Roger Hodge, Dr.ABOUTI HDetour, tobject
Felipe Maciel, CEO of EPBR
Phil Chetwind, cLopalDrDirector of Agence France-Presse
Rola Khalaf, Editor, Financial Times
Emmanuel Colombe, Latin America dReporters Without Borders Director
Lynette Clemson, DrDirector of the Wallace House Center for Journalists
Quinn McCue, CEO, Article 19
Judy Ginsberg, Chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists
Gregory Pfeiffer, Estraight dDirector of the Institute for Current Global Affairs
Lindsey Hilsum, Iinternational mailDetour, Channel 4 News
Christina Lamb, chief foreign correspondent, The Sunday Times
Krishnan Guru Murthy, Channel 4 News Presenter
John Lee Anderson, biographer and writer, The New Yorker
Leonardo Sakamoto, Director of Repórter Brasil
Nelly Luna Amancio, Editor in Chief OjoPúblico
Katia Brasil, CEO, Amazonia Real
André Petry, Editor-in-Chief of Revista Piauí
Jeffrey Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Atlantic
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