“We refuse to give up hope” – friends of missing journalist Dom Phillips

Fellow journalists appeal for Brazilian authorities to intensify efforts in the search for respected British journalist and indigenous peoples expert Bruno Araújo Pereira
<p>Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo Pereira (artwork: Cristiano Siqueira)</p>

Dom Phillips and Bruno Araújo Pereira (artwork: Cristiano Siqueira)

Scores of Brazilian journalists and international correspondents have appealed to authorities to intensify efforts to locate British journalist Dom Phillips and colleague Bruno Araújo Pereira, an expert on indigenous and uncontacted Amazon peoples.

The pair were reported missing on Sunday when they failed to return from a field trip in the Javari valley in the remote western corner of the rainforest. The area is a known hotbed of illegal logging and mining and the two were reported to have received threats prior to setting out.

In the letter published below that Phillips’ friends shared with Diálogo Chino and other media, they express their concern, admiration for his commitment to Amazon reporting, and their enduring hope that he and Pereira will be found safe and well. We reiterate that hope.


We are Dom’s friends and we are in Brazil, Britain, the US, and other points around the world. We are glued to our phones, televisions and computers, desperately seeking information about our friend and colleague. We are phoning, swapping news on WhatsApp, exchanging any nugget that might suggest we will see him again safe and sound. We refuse to believe the worst may have happened to him and Bruno Araújo Pereira, the expert in Indigenous peoples who was with him.

Dom is known as one of the sharpest and most caring foreign journalists in South America. As correspondents we are used to hearing people ask: “Why did you leave your comfortable home to come to Brazil, with all its problems?” The answer is usually the same: “Because we love it here.” As his wife Alessandra put it: “My husband loves Brazil and loves the Amazon. He could live anywhere in the world, but he chose to live here.”

Before he came to Brazil in 2007, Dom had an interesting life writing about music in the UK. He edited a magazine and then wrote a brilliant book about the rise of DJ culture. But he wanted a second act. He came to São Paulo, lured by DJ friends, and Brazil instantly felt like home. He moved to Rio a few years later, then married a Baiana and a couple of years ago he moved to Salvador. His second career as a correspondent has been as brilliant as his first as a music writer.

He has written for The Guardian, the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Intercept and many others. But he wanted to make a mark and his love of the Amazon, a place he went for reporting trips, was deep. His book project on development in the region allowed him to spend more time there, to really get to know the people and their struggles.

But there has always been a lot more to him than pages and paragraphs. His friends know him as a smiling guy who would get up before dawn to do stand-up paddle. We know him as a caring volunteer worker who gave English classes in a Rio favela. One of the first things he did in Salvador was get involved with Jovens Inovadores, a collective health programme at the UFBA [Bahia Federal University]. He was surrounded by young people, youths he lovingly described as noisy and distracted and full of curiosity about the world.

It was his same curiosity that took him to the Vale do Javari with Bruno, whose experience in the region is widely recognised. It’s an isolated area that very few people will ever see. That isolation is why search efforts must be stepped up immediately. Every second is vital. Every man, boat, helicopter, or satellite can make a difference. We are worried but we refuse to give up hope. Please, spare no effort in finding our friend and his friend Bruno.


Tom Phillips, Latin America correspondent, the Guardian

Martin Hodgson, International editor, the Guardian US

Jonathan Watts, global environment editor, the Guardian

Eliane Brum, journalist

Adriana Carranca, journalist

Tom Hennigan, South America correspondent, The Irish Times

Tariq Panja, Global Sports Correspondent, The New York Times

Andrew Downie, author of ‘Doctor Socrates, Footballer, Philosopher, Legend’

Andrew Fishman, Contributing Writer, The Intercept

Sam Cowie, journalist

Sylvia Colombo, Folha de S.Paulo

Henrik Brandão Jönsson, Latin America correspondent, Dagens Nyheter

Cecília Olliveira, Director, Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji)

Vinod Sreeharsha, Correspondent, LatinFinance (U.S.)

David Biller, Brazil News Director, Associated Press

Richard Lapper, author of ‘Beef, Bible and Bullets: Brazil in the Age of Bolsonaro’

Tony Danby, Freelance Journalist

Gareth Chetwynd, News Editor NHST

Jack Nicas, Brazil Bureau Chief, The New York Times

Flávia Milhorance, contributing writer, The New York Times/ Brazil editor, Diálogo Chino

Patricia Campos Mello, reporter at large, Folha de S.Paulo

Stephanie Nolen, global health reporter, The New York Times

Lulu Garcia-Navarro NYT Opinion, Host

James Hider, author and journalist

Vincent Bevins, Former Brazil Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, editor of the “From Brazil” project at Folha de S.Paulo, and author of The Jakarta Method

Lianne Milton, Photographer, Panos Pictures

Fábio Erdos, Filmmaker, Panos Pictures

Simon Romero, National Correspondent, The New York Times

Fabiano Maisonnave, Amazon Correspondent, Associated Press

Wyre Davies, former Latin America correspondent, BBC

Manuela Andreoni, reporter, The New York Times

Cristina Tardáguila, founder of Lupa

Elisangela Mendonça, Reporter, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Daniel Politi, Southern Cone correspondent, Associated Press

Jenny Barchfield, Regional Editor for Latin America, UNHCR.

Paulo Prada, Latin America Enterprise Editor, Reuters

Philip Reeves, international journalist and NPR contributor

Catherine Osborn, Latin America Brief writer, Foreign Policy

Nathan Thompson, editor/producer, National Public Radio

Paula Ramon, former AFP correspondent, Brazil

Kate Steiker-Ginzberg, producer

Taylor Barnes, journalist

Anna Kaiser, reporter, The Miami Herald

Nadia Sussman, videojournalist, Propublica

Catherine Osborn, Latin America Brief writer, Foreign Policy

Júlia Dias Carneiro, journalist

Sebastian Smith, AFP reporter

Juliana Barbassa, deputy editor, NYT

Italo Nogueira, Folha de S. Paulo

Adele Smith, former Latin America correspondent for Journal du Dimanche

Samantha Pearson, correspondent, The Wall Street Journal,

Luciana Magalhaes, correspondent,  Wall Street Journal

Clarissa Thomé, GloboNews

Anthony Boadle, correspondent, Reuters Brasilia

Brad Brooks, correspondent, Reuters

Rebecca Carter, literary agent, Janklow & Nesbit

Laura Bonilla, AFP chief editor Latin America

Paula Bianchi, editor, Agência Pública

Uki Goni, journalist, Argentina

Pascale Trouillaud, AFP Brazil bureau chief

Anna Pelegri, AFP Brazil deputy bureau chief

Carl De Souza, AFP Brazil chief photographer

Jill Langlois, independent journalist in Brazil, contributor to Yale Environment 360 and National Geographic

Bruce Douglas, former Brazil journalist

Meirion Jones, Editor, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Rozina Breen, CEO, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

James Ball, Global Editor, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Kerry Jean Lister, Social Media Manager, UK

Valentina K. Yanes, Digital Content Editor, Florida, EEUU.

Paul Mason, Contributing writer, New Statesman

Joseph Patel, Academy Award winning Documentary Filmmaker

Gary Duffy, former BBC correspondent and Editor in Brazil

Sarah Robbins, BBC World News America

Patrick Greenfield, reporter, The Guardian

Stephen Eisenhammer, Reuters bureau chief, Mexico & Central America,

Dado Galdieri, Hilaea Media Visuals Director

Domonique Davies, PhD researcher in environmental humanities (University of Reading)

Max Beckett, Content Editor, Uswitch.com

Ida Leal, Visual Artist

Ed Davey, Special Correspondent, Climate, Associated Press

Donna Bowater, journalist

Matt Sandy, former correspondent in Brazil

Gregory Norminton,

Arthur Neslen, Freelance Journalist, The Guardian

David RS Taylor, freelance journalist