New RSF investigation into online media attacks throughout Brazil’s election campaign

During Brazil’s election campaign, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) will track and analyse internet threats, violence, and attacks on media as part of their ongoing project. The election campaign was launched on 16 August and will end with the election of a new president, members of both houses of the national congress, governors, and members of the legislative assemblies in Brazil’s states on 2 and 30 October, respectively.

During the campaign, RSF’s Latin America bureau will monitor, analyse, and denounce online attacks on journalists in collaboration with the Laboratory for Image and Cyberculture Studies (LABIC), a leading research centre specialising in social media analysis and digital trends affiliated with the Federal University of Espirito Santo.

The results of this research will be regularly collected and posted on the RSF website. Following the election, a detailed report analysing the main trends and attacks observed during the project will be published. The project’s goal is to better understand the origin, structure, and spread of these online attacks, to expose the main perpetrators, and to find effective and long-term solutions to combat this phenomenon.

In 2021, RSF published the findings of a survey of Twitter users’ behaviour, the platform used for the majority of attacks on media and journalists in Brazil. President Bolsonaro’s supporters were the primary perpetrators of these attacks, with the main targets being female journalists and media outlets critical of the government.