BRAZIL On June 7, the Constitution and Justice Committee of the federal Senate approved a bill prohibiting cigarette and alcohol advertising in newspapers, radio, television and outdoor displays. To become law, the bill must be approved by the entire Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The bill would also prohibit any advertising or other material promoting tobacco and alcohol on sports teams, promotional articles or sales sites. On September 14, the committee agreed to hold hearings to debate the bill. Also in September, the government announced a provisional measure that is the equivalent of a Gag Law for representatives of the Central Bank. Under this new legal directive, the representatives must have the approval of the bank’s directors before making public statements about matters concerning the institution. The Justice Ministry decided to require that television channels display the time and age group permitted for each show before and during the program. Justice Minister José Gregori defended himself against accusations of censorship, arguing that what he intends to do is decrease the influence of violent programs on children and adolescents. The order took effect the following week, and any channel that does not comply will be legally liable and face loss of its broadcast license. The ruling only applies to entertainment programs, and not news. The Senate is considering the so-called Gag Law, a bill proposed by the federal government and sent to the legislature in 1997. If it were approved, administrative and police officials, lawyers, prosecutors and judges would be prohibited from making statements to the media about trials while they are in progress. Although it was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in December 1999, it seemed to have been buried at the time a similar initiative involving a constitutional amendment to reform the judiciary was defeated. Nevertheless, since April the National Congress has continued to consider this bill. At a time when society is demanding openness, a censorship measure is being added in the name of privacy. Before becoming law, the bill must be approved by the Senate and the president. Meanwhile, Congress continues to consider a proposed Press Law to replace the law imposed by the military regime in 1967. A vote has not been scheduled, and the legislators have delayed the debate following protests by defenders of press freedom, including IAPA. Despite this, the bill could be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies for a vote. Seven journalists were murdered between 1995 and 1998 and their cases have still not been solved. They are: Marcos Borges Ribeiro, killed May 1, 1995, in Rio Verde, Goiás. Aristeu Guida da Silva, of São Fidélis, Rio de Janeiro, killed May 12, 1995. Reinaldo Coutinho da Silva, de Cachoeira de Macacu, Rio de Janeiro, killed August 29, 1995. Ronaldo Santana de Araújo, of Eunápolis, Bahia, killed October 9, 1997. Edgar Lopes de Faria of Campo Grande, Mato Gross do Sul, killed October 29, 1997. Manoel Leal de Oliveira, of Itabuna, Bahia, killed January 14, 1998. José Carlos Mesquita, of Ouro Preto do Oeste, Rondônia, killed March 9, 1998. The following attacks have occurred this year: On April 17, several reporters were wounded during a clash between demonstrators of the Landless Movement and the military police of Belém, capital of the state of Pará. Two thousand people were marching to protest the death of 19 landless workers four years before, on April 17, 1996, in Eldorado do Carajás in the state of Pará. Reporter Jonas Campos and cameraman Célio Costa, both of TV Liberal of Belém, were attacked while they recorded damage to cars and a public place. On April 25, some landless workers occupied Tangará farm, about 18 miles from Uberlândia in Minas Gerais state. They attacked journalists, broke and then burned a television camera belonging to the channel Integração, an affiliate of the Rede Globo network. They also damaged equipment of Paranaíba channel of Red Bandeirantes. June 19, cameraman Vicente Campelo of TV Goiânia, was attacked in Goiânia by lawyer Gil Alberto Rezende, one of those accused of diversion of 5 million reals from the Treasury of the state of Goiás for the PMDB´s election campaign in 1998. Those involved in the crime, which would have benefited the candidacy of Sen. Iris Rezende to be governor of the state, are appearing before a state court. When he saw that he was being photographed, the lawyer hit the photographer in the stomach. The following threats were reported: On March 3, journalist Ricardo Noblat, managing editor of the newspaper Correio Braziliense of Brasília, sent a letter to Justice Minister José Carlos Dias asking him to guarantee his safety and that of his family. Noblat said two of his sons were attacked and that he had been receiving anonymous telephone threats since 1998. He said this was a political persecution because of his professional activity. Ricardo Noblat told the minister that his independent position and criticism by his paper particularly disturbed the governor of the Federal District, Joachim Roriz, and then senator Luiz Estevão, who was dismissed last June. But he said he did not have enough proof to accuse anyone. The justice minister has asked the Federal Police to speed up investigation of the case. On June 27, the CDDPH gave Justice Minister José Gregori a preliminary report about the attacks on André and Gustavo Scatrut Noblat, sons of Ricardo Noblat. Although it is only preliminary, the report by the Justice Ministry is conclusive on two points: the attacks were political and the Civil Police of the Federal District did not work as it should have to accelerate the investigation. On March 8, a group of masked, armed men kidnapped journalist Klester Cavalcanti, correspondent of the magazine Veja in Belém, capital of Pará state. The journalist was pushed into a car and driven to a forest with his head inside a black plastic bag. He was tied to a tree in an isolated spot. A revolver was pointed at him and he was threatened with death if he published a report on an illegal land sale. The following acts of censorship were reported: On June 3, a court of the Federal District in Brasília, dismissed a suit by Sen. Ernandes Amorim, for about $550 million from the newspaper Jornal do Brasil (RJ) for something it had published. The trial began in the 7th Civil Court of Brasília when the senator reacted to a JB editorial with the headline “Emerging Criminal” that reported the public’s puzzlement about the naming of Ernandes Amorim as fourth secretary in the leadership of the Federal Senate, since he had been named by the Legislative Committee to Investigate Drug Traffic in 1992 as being involved in drug traffic and the alleged homicide of the mayor of Ariquemes, Rondônia. On June 4, two civil guard officers on duty at the 16th police station in Planaltina, a suburb of Brasília, became annoyed when photographer Francisco Stuckert of Jornal de Brasília took a picture of the landowner Luiz Cerruti while he was being arrested. Hildegilson Aguiar and another policeman took the photographer into the police station and confiscated his film. Then they pushed away Vera Carpes of TV Brasília, Lucía Leal of Jornal de Brasília and Luiz Villar of TV Globo and shut the door of the station. The police officer, Laércio de Carvalho Alves could not say what article of the Criminal Code would allow him to confiscate film. “I don’t have to explain my reasons,” he said. On July 17, Adair Loguini, judge of Rio Branco’s First Electoral Zone, prohibited newspapers and radio stations in the state of Arce from reporting on municipal elections, saying it could constitute election advertising. Election supervisor Alvaro Pereira communicated the ban to representatives of media outlets, saying it applied to all journalistic work about the campaigns for the upcoming municipal elections including news stories, interviews and opinion pieces. In compliance with the judge’s ruling, the Electoral Court fined the newspapers and television channels for publishing interviews or statements of mayoral candidates. On August 17, the federal prosecutor in the state of Arce made a complaint to the superintendent of the Federal Police, Glorivan Bernardes de Oliveira, requesting a police investigation of the editor and other executives of the newspaper A Gazeta for allegedly libelous news stories published in the paper. On September 8, the newspaper filed a habeas corpus petition to the Federal Regional Court of the 1st Region in Brasília to protect the rights of the editor and more than 59 newspaper employees. They lost at the first level. On September 11, federal prosecutor Marcus Vinícius de Aguiar Macedo brought charges on behalf of judges who felt offended by a request for an inventory of goods confiscated from editor Silvio Martinello, editorial page editor Jaime Moreira and assistant editor Lilia Orfanó. The case will continue with the defense presented earlier as soon as Judge Pedro Francisco da Silva of the federal court in Rio Branco returns from vacation. On July 18, Judge José de Anchieta da Mota e Silva of a Belo Horizonte civil court in the state of Minas Gerais, issued a preliminary order forbidding the newspaper Hoje em Dia from publishing news about the United Faculties of Northern Minas and the Northeastern, Northwestern and Northern Minas Educational Association. Publication of the newspaper Tribuna Popular of São Lorenço do Sul (RS), was suspended for 90 hours between July 22 and 26. Ricardo Carneiro Duarte, judge of São Lorenço do Sul ordered the confiscation of the July 22 edition, which was carried out by two judicial officials within 24 hours. Editor Tarso Correa Gonçalves and publisher Pedro Henrique Caldas reported that they were not informed that the suspension had lifted until the afternoon of July 26, even though they had taken all the necessary legal measures the morning of Sunday, July 23. A special edition of the paper was to be distributed on this date, when the traditional Farmers’ Festival is celebrated in the city. According to the editors of Tribuna Popular, the real objective of the order was political: to stop distribution of the newspaper with a headline saying, “Surveys show that 66 per cent of the population does not want the mayor to be reelected.” (Source: CNT/Institute Vox Populi). The following judicial actions were reported: On July 15, Judge Isabel de Borba of a court in Porto Alegre, state of Rio Grande do Sul, sentenced José Barrionuevo of RBS to four months in prison and a fine equivalent to two monthly wages (302 reals). In May, the journalist broadcast a commentary on the radio program “Gaucho News” of Porto Alegre, comparing the state press secretary, Guaracy Cunha, with Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. In accordance with the law, he was allowed to pay a fine of 15 monthly wages, a total of 2,265 reals, which must be donated to a public or private institution. On July 25, the newspaper O Dia of Rio de Janeiro was sentenced to pay compensation of the equivalent of 500 monthly salaries (77,500 reals) in punitive damages to a member of the federal police, Luiz Amado Machado, whose name was on a list of 99 police officers who were alleged to have committed crimes such as extortion, kidnapping and even homicide. The 4th Superior Court reduced the compensation to 200 minimum salaries (30,200 reals), according to a sentence on that date. The article with the list of police officers accused of crimes was published March 9 and 10, 1997. Luiz Amado was named as one who used “police identification and weapons to obtain money from citizens.” He filed a civil suit for damages saying that his dignity and reputation had been tarnished, and he was awarded the equivalent of 500 minimum monthly salaries.