At least 12 journalists have been killed in Brazil since 2011, said areport Tuesday that argues the upcoming World Cup will be a test of efforts toimprove conditions for reporters.Starting June 12, the world will be focused on Brazil as its hosts the footballchampionship. And the ability of local media to report on events -- including anypotential protests or mishaps -- during the global sporting event will also be underscrutiny, said a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists."Brazil is the 11th deadliest country in the world for journalists, and at least 10 havebeen murdered in direct reprisal for their work since Dilma Rousseff came to power"in 2011, the report said, noting another two died while covering dangerousassignments.Journalists also face legal harassment and judicial censorship as they try to do theirjobs, it added.The president has recently begun enacting changes aimed at improving theenvironment in which journalists work, in particular trying to eliminate impunityfor those who kill journalists."In the past year, authorities obtained an unprecedented four convictions in suchcases," CPJ director Joel Simon said in his introduction to the report.The government is also working to improve the freedom of online media in thecountry, where "hundreds of blog posts and links are taken down each year by courtorder, according Google," he said.However, too few of the people who murder journalists face justice, the report said."Brazil (has) ranked for four consecutive years on CPJ’s index of nations where themurders of journalists are most likely to go unpunished," it said.And the courts, too often, are using laws aimed at protecting privacy for averagecitizens to silence legitimate media coverage of powerful figures."Often relying on their close connections to local judges, these powerbrokers havesecured legal orders that effectively prevent or discourage critical reporting bymaking it extremely costly for media outlets and independent journalists to publishunflattering stories about them," the report said.The report notes that the environment during the World Cup is likely to be volatile.Last year, during the less prominent Confederations Cup, more than a millionpeople took to the streets to protest spending on stadiums instead of on publicservices.Simon said the four-week tournament will allow the world to see whether "Brazil’sleaders (will) show the political maturity and confidence to allow unfetteredcoverage by the global media."
And the larger question, of whether Rousseff has "the will and determination to beatback the culture of impunity and end the legal harassment of the media" will takelonger to answer.The president was expected to meet Tuesday with the CPJ Americas' director CarlosLauria.