Freedom of Expression

Tell Brazilian authorities to keep the internet on during the Olympics!



M. Alexandre de Moraes, Minister of Justice

M. Raul Jungmann, Minister of Defense

Your Excellencies,

Internet shutdowns -- including "jamming" or blocking the mobile internet -- harm human rights, block emergency services, and stifle the economy. We call on you to keep the internet on during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


Right now, more than 30,000 journalists are traveling to Brazil to cover the Rio Olympics. This comes as a new report (in Portuguese) reveals that the telecom authority, ANATEL, is allowing  the Brazilian military to  shut down the internet during the course of the games! The permit grants the Brazilian Armed Forces -- which are in charge of security during the Olympics -- the ability to use equipment that, in addition to “jamming” illegal drones and potentially thwarting terrorist attacks, could shut off all or parts of mobile internet.

Tell Brazilian authorities to keep the internet on during the Olympic Games!

Given the amount of activism we expect to see over the next two weeks, it’s vital for the authorities to respect human rights, and for journalists and media workers to be able to record violations if and when they occur, without fear of reprisals. Shutting down the internet breeds confusion, blocks emergency services, and harms local economies.

The Olympics embody perfection, ambition, competition, and -- crucially -- peaceful international cooperation. This makes upholding international human rights principles much more important. UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai pushed back strongly against the use of shutdowns during protests, and the UN Human Rights Council unequivocally condemned intentional disruptions as violating human rights. Now it’s time for Brazilian authorities to heed their call.

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