Media outlets are concerned about a series of measures that limit freedom of the press. The initiatives pursued by the federal government include a bill submitted to Congress that would establish a Federal Journalism Council and establish penalties for journalists and government control of media companies. Another proposal affecting freedom of the press involves the establishment of regulations of the audiovisual media industry. This proposal is designed to control the editorial line and programming of radio and television stations, in addition to interfering blatantly with the content and production of movies. There is renewed interest in the proposed Gag Law, which would bar government figures from providing information on investigations in which they are involved. The bill is actually stronger in its current form, as it seeks to keep officials of the Public Prosecutor’s Office from carrying out investigations. This is the exact opposite of the situation in the world’s great democracies, where laws requiring the prosecutor’s office to provide information to the public are being reinforced. Meanwhile, in Brazil this measure would bar all public officials, except for ministers and their press officers, from giving information to the media when they are involved in any type of investigation. “We know that without quality information, the public has no way of fully exercising their rights. Freedom of the press and the right to be informed are opposite sides of the same coin. Only with full freedom of the press can the public truly exercise its right to be informed.” These words were part of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s address before media executives at the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the National Association of Newspapers. The president pledged that “censorship will not be reintroduced to Brazil, and certainly not in disguised form.” On August 12, 2004, the management of the newspaper A Crítica in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state, announced that their employees “have been targeted in all sorts of death threats and acts of persecution and intimidation.” As an example they described the persecution of journalist Gerson Dantas, photographer Antônio Lima and driver Ednelson Arruda as they were heading to the Presidente Figueiredo region, 107 kilometers (66 miles) from Manaus, in order to assess the conditions there in the wake of the jailing of Mayor Romeiro Mendonça. At that time, as reported by Tereza Cristina Calderaro, vice president of A Crítica, the crew was followed by five cars carrying supporters of the mayor and had to return under escort by the Military Police and Civil Police of Manaus. The escort was ordered by Júlio Pinheiro, the secretary of public security, after he was contacted by the management of Rede Calderaro de Comunicação (RCC). According to management, the newspaper’s staff received phone threats, as did journalist Orlando Farias de Lima, who writes the column “Sim & Não,” and Editor-in-Chief Taíza Brito. Farias de Lima, who was threatened in anonymous phone calls, has been writing the column “Sim & Não” in A Crítica for seven years and, by his account, had never been threatened in such a manner. According to the newspaper’s management, these incidents are in response to the articles on “Operation Pelican,” carried out by the Federal Police of Amazonas. This operation has led to the jailing of public officials (a state legislator, the secretary of state, the mayor, and members of the Bids Committee) and executives “who in the last two years acted jointly to embezzle more than 500 million Brazilian reals from the treasury, in what amounts to a scandal of huge proportions.” On March 22, 2004, the newspaper Jornal da Manhã of Uberaba, in the Minas Gerais region, had its facilities shut down for 24 hours. On April 20, electoral judge Lênin Ignachitti put the newspaper out of circulation when he ordered its printing facilities shut down under the pretext that a published interview with Mayor Odo Adão of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) in its Sunday, April 18 edition constituted “untimely electoral propaganda.” Jornal da Manhã had been running interviews with potential mayoral candidates in its Sunday editions, and the interview with Odo Adão followed other similar interviews that had already appeared in the paper. In his interview, Odo Adão acknowledged his intent to seek his party’s nomination for mayor of Uberaba, admitted that he will face competition within the party from PDSB state legislator Fahim Sawan, and spoke about his modest background, racism and other issues. In fulfillment of a court order, the doors of the company were shut down that day, which prevented staff from entering the building and newspapers from being printed. To carry out the closure of Jornal da Manhã, the electoral judge used strong security measures that included four vehicles of the ROTAM police agency and officers armed with rifles and machine guns, who went through the entire facilities at the newspaper’s administrative headquarters. Feeling intimidated, the newspaper staff did not resist the closure. The legal representatives of Jornal da Manhã, Lídia Ciabotti and Luiz Ciabotti Neto, were in São Paulo when they learned of the measure. Jornal da Manhã appealed to the Regional Elections Board in Belo Horizonte and, after the order to shut down the newspaper was lifted, the newspaper resumed normal circulation on April 21. Jornal da Manhã is the oldest newspaper in the city of Uberaba, and for more than two decades was the official publication of the judicial branch, carrying confidential information about parties to court cases. This newspaper had enjoyed 32 years of uninterrupted circulation until it was shut down by this court order, which has been criticized as an extreme measure that violates freedom of the press and has been met with indignation from the paper’s management and the community at large. The following crimes were reported during the past six months, although they have not been conclusively proven to be related to the practice of journalistic activity. On April 24, 2004, José Carlos Araújo, 37, was murdered in Timbaúba, Pernambuco. Araújo had a radio program on which he reported police news and called for greater security in the city. He had been threatened for his on-air statements. The killer admitted that he had not liked the fact that his name had been mentioned more than once on Araújo’s program. On July 11, 2004, Jorge Lourenço dos Santos, 59, an on-air personality for Radio Criativa FM, was murdered in Santana do Ipanema, Alagoas. The police believe that the crime is related to the criticism expressed by Santos on his program against a number of politicians from the region. On May 12, the media, journalists, and human rights organizations condemned the decision by the Ministry of Justice to revoke the temporary visa of U.S. journalist Larry Rohter, who had written an article for the The New York Times on the drinking habits of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Francisco Mesquita Neto, then president of the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ), issued a statement denouncing the revocation of Rohter’s visa, saying that this measure was based on legal provisions that remain on the books as part of a long-contested authoritarian law, provisions that merit condemnation whenever they are enforced. “Expelling a journalist from Brazil for his professional activities is a measure that violates freedom of the press and runs counter to the democratic principles that Brazil upholds.”