Ama Llulla! Vulnerabilities in COVID applications and violence against Black and transgender councillors

Brazilians take part in a protest against president Jair Bolsonaro and his management of the COVID-19 outbreak, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 31 January 2021, Cris Faga/NurPhoto

Identifying vulnerabilities in ‘digital solutions’ developed in the fight against COVID

In late January, IFEX member Fundación Karisma launched a report that documents and systematizes the vulnerabilities found and reported by the organisation’s K+LAB Digital Security and Privacy Laboratory during 2020.

Threats and political violence against Black and transgender city councillors

One of IFEX’s members in Brazil, ARTIGO 19, has been calling attention to the intensive online harassment and threats against Black and transgender members of the municipal legislature in Sao Paulo. The attacks range from online gender-based violence to firing shots against the residence of one of the councillors. ARTIGO 19 shares data from research carried out during the 2020 elections that points out that 78% of Black women candidates reported having faced attacks in the runoff to the polls. This violence did not cease with the announcement of results. Several newly-elected candidates received death threats, yet were not offered adequate responses or protection to ensure their lives and safety.

580 attacks against a “good for nothing” media

In late January, IFEX member Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released an overview of the attacks they had monitored against the Brazilian press during 2020. According to the group, a total of 580 attacks were registered.

A fact-checking alliance with a focus on indigenous and vulnerable groups

A new Peruvian media coalition will engage in fact-checking to combat false information during the electoral campaign ahead of general elections scheduled for April 2021 in the country. The initiative has been named Ama Llulla — ‘don’t lie’, in Quechua. The network will privilege the production of audio content, especially podcasts, that could be replicated by radios across the country. Videos and visual content will also be produced to target urban audiences.

A Code of Conduct for Venezuelan NGOs

This January, a number of leading Venezuelan civil society organisations launched a Code of Conduct for the sector. They decided to adopt common standards and principles, which include non-discrimination; gender equality; sexual diversity; prevention of and accountability for sexual harassment; respect for the environment; free and accessible services; autonomy in relation to political, private, and state entities; transparency; and no violence. IFEX-ALC member Espácio Público are part of the initiative.

Cuban activists under distress

International IFEX member ARTICLE 19 reported a wave of attacks against journalists and human rights defenders during a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Culture in Cuba. The attacks came from the National Police and the Department of State Security in Havana. A number of individuals were detained and later released without charges. Five people reported being beaten during the attacks, and of these, two were women who said that they were also sexually assaulted by PNR agents, under the pretext of searching for tape recorders in their genitals. On 29 January, IFEX member the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also reported internet disruptions and affirmed that authorities have been imposing such restrictions in order to obstruct the spread of information about protests.

Mexicans’ personal data for sale

In late January, Mexican IFEX member R3D reported that three databases with alleged registrations of customers of the BBVA and Santander banks, as well as one made up of users of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), were put up for sale on the black market. BBVA’s database allegedly has three million entries, Santander’s one million, and the IMSS database has 42 million entries containing the personal data of Mexicans, including addresses, phone numbers, national taxpayers numbers and numbers of their bank cards.

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IFEX is a global network of organisations that defend and promote the right to freedom of expression and information. Email: