The increasing political maturity of Brazil did not reduce the tension that has always characterized the period before an election. In 2002 the courts heard innumerable cases involving the political-electoral conflict that illustrate the attempt to block the work of the press and the right to information. The recourse to preliminary judicial actions was widely used to prevent information of public interest getting to readers and voters. The implementation of Law No. 10.406 in the new Civil Code on January 11 sparked new debate over the right to information and issues of censorship, protection of confidentiality and the right to privacy of individuals. The new code and the constitution expressly prohibit the dissemination of texts, words and images in order to protect the good name and reputation of a person. The only exceptions allowed, in addition to the authorization of the individual, are when it is necessary for the administration of justice or to maintain public order. That is, anything that could be offensive to the good name, reputation or respectability of an individual can be brought to court as a reason to block its publication in the press. This law obstructs press freedom in the name of discipline. The following are the main developments affecting press freedom: On October 23 2002, there was a case of prior restraint under judicial protection at Correio Braziliense. Under a search and seizure order signed by Judge Jirair Meguerian, court official Ricardo Yoshida, accompanied by the lawyer, Adolfo Marques da Costa, of the Brasilia Solidarity Front Coalition, entered the paper’s newsroom to censor any news story based on parts of a recording made by the federal police, with judicial authorization, that would link Governor Roriz with the brothers Pedro and Márcio Passos. The two businessmen had been accused of irregularities in the distribution of land in Brasilia. The court official and Roriz’s lawyer searched every part of the newspaper offices involved in news reporting and reviewed every section of the paper. Judge Meguerian ordered the “search and seizure, with violence or forcible entry, if necessary…of all copies of the October 24 edition of the newspaper Correio Braziliense if it publishes part or all of the content of tapes recorded in court-ordered telephone taps.” But on October 25, the Superior Electoral Court overturned the judge’s decision by a vote of 5 to 0. The daily Jornal de Brasilia (DF) also was censored under a preliminary order by Judge Nívio Gonçalves, of the Regional Electoral Court, at the request of candidate Geraldo Magela of the Brazil Hope Front Alliance, in support of his candidacy for governor of the Federal District. The order concerned publication of a news story on October 14 concerning the receipt of money to regularize the situation of some condominium buildings. On October 24, also, Judge Jirair Meguerian issued a search and seizure order against the newspaper company Jornal da Comunidade (Brasilia) that had been denouncing Magela, the Workers Party candidate for governor of the Federal District. On October 27, Criminal Judge Erika Soares de Azevedo Mascarenhas, of Sao Paulo, gave journalist Luís Nassif a three-month prison sentence, which could be changed to community service and a fine of 10 minimum wages. The judge convicted him of what she called the “unmistakable intention” of defaming businesswoman Mendes Júnior. On November 21, Ricardo Sérgio de Oliveira, former director of the Banco de Brasil, charged that articles by Josias de Souza, director of the Brasilia bureau of Folha de S. Paolo, had libeled him and demanded 500,000 reals in damages. The text he objected to, published in Souza’s Sunday column “No Planato,” were based on documents presented in official investigations by the public prosecutor’s office, the federal tax agency, the central bank and the federal police. On November 21, Judge Fátima Vilas Boas Cruz, of a Sao Paulo civil court ordered Folha de S. Paulo to pay damages of 200 minimum wages to Nicéa Camargo, ex-wife of Celso Pitta, former mayor of Sao Paulo. Nicéa said she was libeled in a news story published in August 1998 about the use of false tax bills to justify expenses. Folha alleged that it was not defamation or libel, because it had only reported that the bills were irregular and it never said that Nicéa was responsible for the forgery. She demanded 50,000 reals in punitive damages. The judge partially granted the request after an attempt to settle the case. On December 3, the case against Marcelo Rech, managing editor of the daily Zero Hora, and columnist José Barrionuevo, on a complaint brought by the governor of Río Grande do Sul, Olívo Dutra (PT) was dismissed by a state criminal court. The dismissal was requested by the public prosecutor’s office based on the statute of limitations and the lack of any intention to libel the governor. The journalists had been sentenced to five months in jail, and the sentence was changed to a fine of five minimum wages. They had reported that Dutra was complicit in the destruction of the clock commemorating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil during conflicts in Porto Alegre during the anniversary celebration. A Sao Paulo court granted a preliminary order to censor the magazine Você S/A of Editora Abril at the request of Dow Right human resources consulting firm. The company wanted to condition the publication of an article on the right of reply in the same edition. Judge Antônio Dimas Cruz Carneiro ruled that the news story could only be published if it included “a response to every negative fact attributed to the author of the response, rigorously observing equal space and emphasis between the charges and the defenses.” Judge Carneiro said: “Exercised a posteriori, the right of reply is not always effective in achieving its legal goal, because the people who read the accusations do not always read the explanations by the person who was accused. Therefore, the best way to guarantee the right of reply is to make sure it has the same emphasis in the news story as the negative information.” On March 11, Alvaro Lins, the chief of the civil police of Rio de Janeiro, reissued the old “Gag Law” in the agency’s Internal Bulletin, prohibiting police officers from giving interviews. Information can only be provided by the agency’s public relations office. The new ruling is an exact copy of one published in July 1999 and signed by Security Secretary Josias Quintal. Alvao Lins justified his ruling, saying “in the light of interviews…that have a partial, incorrect vision and inaccurate statistics and, while in good faith, often cause and contribute an increase in the people’s sense of insecurity… interviews with the media by police officers are prohibited.” On March 12, Rede Globo was ordered to pay damages to former senator Luiz Estevão and report the judgment in its prime-time newscast. Judge Maria de Fátima Rafael de Aguiar Ramos found that some commentaries by Arnaldo Jabor about Estevão were libelous. The punitive damages were ordered in 2002 after Jabor wrote about the alteration in the size of goals in the soccer field of Bezerrão for a match between Brasiliense and Atlético Mineiro. The former senator, who is the owner of the Brasilia team, was blamed for the alteration in the width of the goal. O Globo argued that publication of the information was legitimate and did not justify compensatory or punitive damages, but the judge did not agree. Damages of 5,000 reals were awarded, and the judgment can be appealed. On March 13, journalist Xica Sá was sentence in Sao Paulo to four months in prison because of a headline that the commander of the military police did not like. The sentence was changed later to community service and can be appealed. It was dated last November but the journalist was not informed until March 13. The article, published in Diário Popular (now Diário de S. Paulo) in November 2000 reported mistreatment of members of the Movement of Landless Workers (MST). The demonstrators, who had taken over the site of Incra in Sao Paulo, were whipped by military police, their heads were shaved and they were transported naked to a jail in Carandiru. Criminal Judge Ruy Alberto Leme Cavalheiro in Sao Paulo said the article about the police was too strong and accepted the argument that the criticism of the military policemen who participated in the action affected the entire corps.