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At least four journalists were killed in 2013, three of them in direct retaliation for their journalism.

In addition to this climate of violence, journalists and press freedom advocates have identified judicial censorship as the second-most-critical problem affecting Brazilian reporters and media outlets.

(AFP/Tasso Marcelo) The Brazilian Senate quickly began an official investigation into allegations, leaked to Greenwald by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that the American spy agency even intercepted President Dilma Rousseff's personal communications.

Rousseff, a former Marxist rebel who fought against the military regime in the 1960s and is up for re-election in 2014, has promised reforms and has created a working group to study the issue of attacks against journalists.

CPJ has documented convictions in at least six killings of journalists in recent years.

In August 2013, for instance, João Francisco dos Santos was sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of shooting and killing radio journalist and blogger Francisco Gomes de Medeiros in the northeastern city of Caicó, according to news reports.

News outlets and journalists are often subject to intimidation in the form of multiple lawsuits, straining their financial resources and forcing them to halt their criticism.

Lower court judges often admit such lawsuits into court, eventually ruling against the press, CPJ research shows.

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