Civic Space GPS

In an open and healthy civic space, individuals and groups are able to freely organize, participate, and communicate. They are also able to claim their rights and influence social and political structures around them. 


This space also entails interactions between civil society and governments, which in representative democracies tend to contribute to more transparent and responsible decisions. Three vital liberties define its scope: freedom of speech, association and reunion. When such liberties are violated, the civic space can be considered limited or reduced.
In the past few years, populist and authoritarian regimes are being elected in several countries. Consequently, threats to the civic space – the layer between the state, business and family – have increased. In response, civil society, private groups and other actors are fighting back and resisting antidemocratic practices. 
The Civic Space GPS is a quarterly bulletin that monitors and describes attacks to the civic space, as well as, how state institutions and civil society are resisting. The publication lists strategies and tactics in accordance to Igarapé’s own sociological typology available at “The Ágora is Under the Attack: assessing the closure of civic space in Brazil and around the world“. The typology was later updated and can be found at “A Typology to Understand Strategies and Tactics for Attacking the Civic Space”.
This Bulletin is part of a wider platform which includes a podcast series Você Pode Mudar o Mundo (in Portuguese) and the book A Defesa do Espaço Cívico(english version in 2021).

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Read the latest bulletin

Access the typology

How the GPS is produced (in Portuguese)


Find below the evolution of reported threats to understand the most commonly used trategies and tactics. 


total number of threats and attacks to Brazilian civic space in 2021


1st quarter 2021


2nd quarter 2021


3rd quarter 2021


4th quarter 2021

Reporting variations may apply as the GPS methodology and typology changed. Increases in reported threats may be related to these changes. 


Actions implemented by one or more government branches to halt the closure of the civic space and actions taken by the civil society, private groups, universities, among others, which also resist attacks. Although efforts are of crucial importance, they are not necessarily enough to avoid setbacks and the closure of the civic space.


2nd quarter – 475 reactions
Executive - state and municipal level
Federal Government
Public Prosecutor's Office


3rd quarter – 837 reactions
Executive - state and municipal level
Federal Government
Public Prosecutor's Office


4th quarter – 393 reactions
Executive - state and municipal level
Federal Government
Public Prosecutor's Office

In the third quarter, a total of 393 reactions were detected. Among them, 241 were institutional responses, meaning they were produced inside the state structure, and 152 others were carried out by civil society, Academia, political parties, the press and other actors

Since January 2021, the methodology to identify and catalogue incidents changed and became more robust. As a result, increases in reported reactions may be related to these changes. 

Selected data, see the full list in the publicationSource: Igarapé analysis based on news published by the press.

Bulletin 5 GPS

An unprecedented retrospective shows an average of more than four daily attacks and threats to Brazilian civic space in 2021, prompting more than two thousand institutional responses and actions of resistance from civil society and other groups.

Bulletin 4 GPS

The rise in threats to civic space in Brazil led to an average of almost six attacks per day in the third quarter of 2021.

Bulletin 3 GPS

Institucional tension between government branches increases registered threats to the civic space. Get to know cases when society reactions prompted a change of posture

Bulletin 2 GPS

The use of the National Security Law against critics to the government. 

Bulletin 1 GPS

The use of public security and criminal justice tools, by some people, to legally intimidate those critic to the government.

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