57th General Assembly Washington, DC October 12 – 16, 2001 BRAZIL Judges have been making decisions impeding the free exercise of journalism with greater frequency, in violation of the Federal Constitution. The newspaper Pioneiro of Rio Grande do Sul state was prohibited from publishing any news of a kidnapping that that had been reported by other media outlets. Another case of censorship occurred when the governor of Rio de Janeiro state blocked – albeit temporarily – the reporting of the content of tapes of telephone taps obtained by the newspaper O Globo. Some press companies have been ordered to pay large sums in punitive damages, and in some cases their survival is threatened. For example, the newspaper Debate of São Paulo cannot pay the damages demanded by a judge and a prosecutor. The newspaper Taperá, also of São Paulo, was ordered to pay a high sum in punitive damages. The newspaper Tribuna Popular of São Lourenço do Sul in Rio Grande do Sul state was confiscated under an injunction requested by the mayor. The edition that was confiscated had a news story about a public prosecutor’s report concerning administrative irregularities by the mayor. The mayor of Porto Alegre, the capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, won a lawsuit against “Rádio Eldorado” radio station of São Paulo. There were also attempts at censorship by the executive and legislative branches. They included bills, executive orders, administrative rules, codes and regulations that would curtail press freedom. In all these cases, media outlets have reacted and received the support of the public which has aligned itself with defenders of press freedom. —On March 12, crews of the television stations SBT and TVE were attacked by drug dealers in Favela Vila do João in Rio de Janeiro. The attackers, armed with pistols, took from the reporters videotapes with information about an attack on two American tourists two days earlier. The journalists turned over the tapes and were released. —On March 23, reporting crews from TV Centro América (Rede Globo) and TV Cidade (SBT) were kidnapped by Xavante and Terena Indians who had set up blockades on Highway BR 163, 15 kilometers from Rondonópolis, in the southern part of the state. Reporters Elaine Martins and Ricardo Costa and producers Demar Neto and Edir de Souza were kidnapped. They were freed March 25 after it was agreed that the Indians would be moved to Mirandópolis farm in Juscimeira, in the southern part of Mato Gross. The weekly newspaper Debate of Santa Cruz do Rio Padro, a town of 40,000 located 375 kilometers west of São Paulo, is still waiting for a ruling in its appeal against an award of more than 300,000 reais to Judge Antônio José Magdalena of the circuit court of Santa Cruz do Rio Padro. The trial was suspended because Magistrate Nancy Andrigh asked to review the record. In addition, judges Antônio de Pádua Ribeiro and Sabatião de Oliveira Castro Filho have to vote. The newspaper, which is 24 years old, was named in two lawsuits beginning in 1995, brought by Judge Magdalena and prosecutor Carlos Aparecido Rinard who work in the same civil jurisdiction. The two suits together are for 600,000 reais and would cause the closing of the newspaper, the termination of eight employees and loss of 13,000 reais a month, according to editor-owner Sérgio Fleury Moraes. Last year the São Paulo court reduced damages demanded by the prosecutor to 25,000 reais, which was upheld by the Superior Court at the beginning of this year. In Judge Magdalena’s case, the damages of 1,800 monthly minimum wages were reduced by the São Paulo court to 1,000 minimum wages, close to 300,000 reais at the current value, with interest and inflation adjustment. The São Paulo court denied the newspaper’s appeal, as did Judge Ari Pargendler of the Superior Court. In May, the judge reconsidered the ruling and accepted a special appeal presented by the five judges on the Third Panel of the Superior Court. The lower court award was made in 1995 when the newspaper reported that Judge Magdalena’s house and telephone were paid for by city hall. The newspaper Taperá of Salto, 102 kilometers from São Paulo, was ordered to pay 100,000 reais to former inmate Valério Francisco de Moraes, 45, for publishing a news story based on a police report. The story said that on January 22, 2001, Moraes, who was on a partial release program, was questioned for bringing a package of marijuana into the prison. A prison guard, Ednilson Padilha do Amaral, accused the inmate of trying to bribe him with a 10,000 reais bill. The case went to trial and Moraes was acquitted, so he sued for punitive damages saying the news story was “absolutely sensationalistic and irresponsible and had the obvious intention of increasing sales of the newspaper.” Actress Malu Mader won an appeal in a lawsuit demanding 2 million reais in punitive and material damages against the newspaper Extra of Rio de Janeiro. The actress sued the newspaper for publishing a nude photograph of her on the front page at a time when Rede Globo was showing the mini-series “Labirinto” in which she was appearing. The decision by the trial court was handed down on Sept. 29 of last year by Judge Antônio Carlos Esteves Torres, who ruled in favor of the actress and ordered the company to pay 1 million reais for punitive damages and 1 million reais for material damages. In March, the award was confirmed by the 9th Civil Chamber of the Rio de Janeiro court. From May to August, journalist Mário Quevedo Neto, reporter and managing editor of the newspaper Folha de Vilhena in Rondônia, did community service at the public defender’s office as an alternative to being sentenced to prison in Porto Velho, the state capital. He was sentenced for reporting in 1998 bad conditions at the jail inVilhena, where some inmates were housed in totally unacceptable conditions, notwithstanding an order to close the jail. The judge with oversight of the prisons, Adolfo Theodoro Naujorks Neto, said he had been defamed by the report, put the journalist on trial and convicted him. At first, Quevedo was sentenced to four months of house arrest, but after appeal to the state court, his sentence was changed to community service. The fine was reduced from 1.3 million reais to two monthly minimum salaries to be paid to the National Penitentiary Fund. The Group de Comunicacões Três, publisher of the magazine IstoÉ, was ordered on May 8 to pay punitive damages of 800,000 reais, with interest and inflation adjustment to Judge Luiz Beethoven Giffoni Ferreira. The sentence handed down by Judge Maurício Habice of the São Paulo Circuit Court concerns a news report in November 1998 accusing Ferreira of irregularities in the adoption of children. Judge Raquel de Oliveira of a bankruptcy court closed the office of the Rio de Janeiro newspaper Tribuna da Imprensa. The newspaper was declared bankrupt for not paying an award of 60,000 reais to Associate Justice Paulo César Salomão who had sued the company for punitive damages. An article published in 1994 had linked the judge’s name to Paulo César Farias, campaign treasurer of former president Fernando Collor. In 2000, the newspaper was ordered to pay Salomão 54,000 reais, which it did not do. On May 7, 2001, Associate Justice Renato Simone of the 9th Civil Branch, suspended the sentence by Judge Raquel de Oliveira and the newspaper was published. On May 14, Judge Cláudia Valéria Bastos Fernandes sentenced the federal government to pay reporter-photographer Sheila Chagas 100,000 reais in punitive damages. On December 31, 1999, in Forte de Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, the wind knocked over a tent being used for the New Year’s Eve celebration attended by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Soldiers prevented photographers from taking pictures of the tent’s collapse. Photographer Fernando Bizerra da Silva Júnior of Jornal do Brasil was beaten and Ed Ferreira and Rosa Costa of the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo and Sheila Chagas of the Abril Group, among others were physically and verbally attacked. Sheila Chagas, who was working freelance for Abril Group was detained and attacked for taking pictures of soldiers hitting journalist Bizerra Júnior. The soldier took Sheila Chagas and Bizerra to a barracks where they were beaten and their equipment damaged. Editora Abril was ordered to pay punitive damages equivalent to 200 minimum monthly salaries to one of the main leaders of the National Movement of Landless Workers (MST), João Pedro Stédile, because of news published in the magazine Veja on May 10, 2000, which the leader considered an insult to his good name and that of his organization. Judge Régis Rodrigues Bonvicino of the regional court of Lapa in the western part of São Paulo, ordered the publishing company to pay court costs and legal fees. The Regional Council of Nurses obtained an injunction against the same publishing company to prevent the magazine Playboy from being distributed with a photographic essay of model Ariane Latuf portraying “The Nurse of Funk.” The injunction was extended to prevent distribution of the newspaper Exame VIP which had carried a report about the model. The injunction was granted by Judge Tânia Regina Marangoni Zauhy, who said that if the order was disobeyed the person responsible for the article would have to pay a fine of 50 percent of the magazine’s net invoiced revenues. She also warned that “everyone who allows the editing, publication and circulation of the magazines” could face a charge of contempt of court. On March 8, Editora Abril was also sued by Carlos Jereissati, owner of Shopping Iguatemi and brother of the governor of Ceará state, demanding punitive damages of 22 million reais for a report in Veja that said there were rumors in Brasilia that as adviser to Governor Tasso Jereissati he was the equivalent of Paulo César Farias, the controversial adviser of former President Fernando Collor de Melo Tarso Genro, Workers’ Party mayor of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul state, won punitive damages in a lawsuit against Rádio Eldorado of the O Estado de São Paulo group. He sued the radio station because it broadcast listeners’ calls in 1998 nominating him as a candidate for the “Hard-Nosed Trophy – the Oscar of Vulgarity.” He was nominated by a vote of listeners because he had called for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to resign after he was elected for a second term. Judge Vivian Wiptli Zanelli ordered Rádio Eldorado on May 27, 2001, to pay the mayor damages amounting to the equivalent of of 200 minimum monthly salaries, plus interest, inflation adjustment and fees, because the calls broadcast by the radio station went beyond journalistic accounts. On June 20, a reporting team of Correio Braziliense of Brasilia was prevented from accompanying the Chamber of Deputies’ Human Rights Committee and the judge overseeing prisons, Sebastião Coelho da Silva to the Internment and Reeducation Center of Papuda Penitentiary. The newspaper said the judge went to the prison to take the members of the committee to observe the treatment of prisoners. Correio Braziliense said 10 police officers armed with pistols and nightsticks blocked the reporter who had been authorized by the judge to accompany the group from entering the prison. Mário Coelho de Almeida Filho, general manager of the newspaper A Verdade of Magé in Baixada Fluminense, 60 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, was shot to death when he arrived home at about 6 p.m. August 16. He was to testify the next day at a trial against him brought by José Camilo Zito dos Santos and Narriman Zito, mayors of Duque de Caxias and Magé, respectively. According to detective Ricardo Hallax, who is leading the investigation, five people witnessed the crime, and the suspect was seen four days before the crime drinking beer at a bakery on the corner of the street where de Almeida lived. The witnesses said Almeida was shot when he was parking his car in his garage. He tried to run away, but the murderer caught him and killed him in a vacant lot in front of his house with a shot to the head and two to the chest. Police suspect that Almeida was killed for political revenge or a crime of passion. The newspaper was known for reporting on alleged wrongdoing by local politicians. Recently, the main subject of the reports was Mayor Narriman Zito. Among the allegations published in A Verdade were election crimes, corruption and over billing for public works projects. In May the newspaper prominently displayed over half a page the official record of the Rio Legislative Assembly in which state deputy Núbia Cozzolino gave a speech insinuating that Narriman Zito had a romantic relationship with one of her bodyguards. After the publication of the text Narriman Zito and José Camilo Zito sued the journalist for libel and defamation. A deposition had been scheduled for the day after the murder at the 105th police precinct of Petrópolis where the six-page newspaper was printed and distributed three times a month. In September, Álvaro Lins, chief of the Civil Police, announced that the Public Safety Secretariat was offering a 5,000 reais reward for anyone who helps identify Almeida’s murderer. The Inter-American Press Association named journalist Clarinha Glock of its Rapid Response Unit to investigate the murder.