BRAZIL Crimes against the press in Brazil continue to go unpunished. No one has been punished for eightmurders between 1995 and 1998 and the trials are following a long bureaucratic path. Either the suspects are free or the cases have not been solved. The National Newspaper Association (ANJ) and the vice president of the IAPA 's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information have been urging the courts to take the necessary measures since continued impunity can encourage new crimes. A date has been set for the trial of the person accused of killing Zaqueu de Oliveira in Barroso in the state of Minas Gerais in 1995. A state court will begin a jury trial of the defendant, Jose Carlos de Souza at 9 a.m. on November 17,1999. With respect to laws, Brazilian journalists and the National Congress have been working since 1991 to revoke the Press Law of 1967, instituted during the military government. The Chamber of Deputies is debating a text presented by Vilmar Rocha, deputy of the Liberal Front Party from the state of Goias. It was approved by the Constitution and Justice Committee in August of 1997 and is now ready for a vote of the full chamber. There will be a problem if the bill does not include a proposal by the chamber's speaker, Deputy Michel Temer, to establish criteria for calculating caps on the amount of punitive damages. Huge awards out of proportion to the damage suffered could force newspapers to close and lead to the harmful practice of self-censorship by both journalists and news outlets. On the other hand, the National Congress is considering bill No. 2.961/97 that would diminish press freedom by prohibiting news companies from disseminating statements by police, administration or judicial officials about ongoing police and court investigations or trials until they have ended. If this passed, it would be a serious" gag" on the press since news could not be published until the legal process has ended and the judge has handed down the verdict. In addition, prohibiting the authorities from giving information that is not privileged violates the Federal Constitution, restricts information to the public and prevents reporting on relevant cases that are of interest to the public,inhibiting investigative journalism.The National Newspaper Association (ANJ) is also concerned about a proposed new General Law for the National Postal System. Depending on the interpretation of the text, distribution of newspapers and magazines would be done either by the government agency or by registering at a government office. Neither would be acceptable in a climate of press freedom. For that reason the ANJ presented to the federal government, through the Brazilian Mail and Telegraph Service, a proposal to include the following paragraph: "Distribution and home delivery of magazines, books and newspapers would be excluded from the Postal Service." But there is also good news about laws. At the request of the ANJ, the Justice Ministry removed from the proposed reform of the Brazilian Legal Code an article that established the concept of "oppressive publicity." The article would have prohibited dissemination of news about ongoing trials, saying there was a possibility of interference in the decisions of judges and juries and suggesting that the media might conduct a "campaign" to "restrict" judges, witnesses or anyone else involved in the trial. This shows a totally distorted view of the press' work. In August an IAPA mission visited Brazil to look into unpunished crimes against journalists and make contact with judicial, executive and legislative offiCials. The mission was headed by IAPA president Jorge Fascetto, and comprised Alberto Ibarglien of The Miami Herald; Diana Daniels of The Washington Post; Scott Schurz of The Indiana Times; Carlos Molina, press freedom coordinator the IAPA; Paulo Cabral, vice president for Brazil of the Committee on Freedom of Press and Information; and Deusdedith Aquino of the newspaper Estado de Minas. The mission asked the president to punish those responsible for the murders of Zaqueu de Oliveira in Minas Gerais and Aristeu Guida da Silva in Rio de Janeiro state, both committed in 1995 and both unpunished. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso promised to speed up the trials through his justice minister. At the same time it was proposed that crimes against journalists and news organizations be considered attacks on human rights. In a meeting with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Carlos Mario Velloso, the IAPA mission asked his support for speedily resolving eight crimes against journalists between 1995 and 1998 and punishing those responsible. The chief justice decided to send letters to the chief judges in the states where the crimes occurred, saying, "The investigations and punishment of the guilty parties is of great importance to the Brazilian judicial system." The chief justice also said he was in favor of making crimes against journalists federal offenses within the reform of the judicial system and said he would defend that position. Conversations with Michel Temer, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, focused on the proposed press law. The IAPA president said the association considers that "the best press law is no press law," urging the revocation of the law, which has been in effect since 1967. Temer said it would be important to include in the new law criteria to calculate the amount of punitive damages against the media. He added that in his opinion only that point remained to be resolved before the bill presented by Deputy Vilmar Rocha is put to a vote by the full chamber. While the IAPA mission was in Belo Horizonte, it met with the chief justice of the state court and asked that a date be set for the trial of the accused murderer of Zaqueu de Oliveira, killed in 1995 in Barroso, 60 miles from the state capital. The only step lacking before the beginning of a jury trial is that the attorney general of Minas Gerais, Epaminondas Fulgencio, name a prosecutor. In mid-October, the chief justice of the state court said that the trial had been set for 9 a.m. on November 17 in Barbacena, 120 miles from the state capital. This is proof of the important contribution of the IAPA to the cause of press freedom in Brazil at this time. In 1999 the following incidents related to censorship and attacks on the media occurred: -On March 2, two journalists from Andradina, Antonio Crispim (Jornal da Regiiio) and Marco Aurelio de Souza Santos (Debate), were put on trial in criminal court for having witnessed a crime in progress and reported it in their newspapers. -On April 2, Judge Cleber Lucio de Almeida, of a labor court in Belo Horizonte, was able to reinstate censorship of the media to keep his name out of a scandal concerning the sale of drivers licenses by officials of the state transit department, Detran. - Diana da Regiiio reporter Cecilia Demian was acquitted on May 13, 1999, in a trial for slander initiated by prosecutor Odival Cicote in Sao Jose do Rio Preto. Judge Osni Assis Pereira ruled that the charge was unfounded. -On May 26, journalist Maria Elena Covre and photographer Junior Vignola of Diana daRegiiio in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, in Sao Paulo state, were prevented from investigating a report of the expulsion of students and violence in Galante Nora public school. -On May 31, reporter Tania Martins and photographer Paulo Ricardo Rocha of the daily newspaper Meio Norte of Teresina, capital of the state Piau!, photographed military policeman Carlos Alberto Pires da Silve, of the 1st Battalion of Military Police, beating a street child. When he realized he was being observed, the policeman attacked them verbally, pOinted his gun at the photographer's head, threatened to kill him and punched him in the stomach. -On July 6, Col. Josias Quintal, public safety director of the state of Rio de Janeiro, banned police from giving interviews to the media. The president of ANJ and the vice preSident in charge of its Freedom of Expression Committee, Renato Simoes, wrote a letter to the state governor, Anthony Garotinho, expressing their surprise at the governor's act which they called "the result of incorrect instructions to the authority responsible for public safety in that state." On July 23, demonstrators from the "March of the Dispossessed" by landless farmers, the unemployed and other "excluded" people, occupied the patio of the building housing the daily newspaper Zero Hora in Porto Alegre, in the state of Rio Grande do SuI. They did not get to the third-floor newsroom because security guards shut the doors. On July 28, the daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, reported that six soldiers of the Shock Battalion of the Military Police, who were cracking down on a truck drivers' protest on Autopista Anhanguera in the state of Sao Paulo, confiscated nine rolls of film from photographer Marcos Peron. According to the paper, the film showed 50 police officers storming a gasoline station near a toll booth, at the 117 kilometer point of the highway, breaking the windows of at least five trucks and forcing the drivers to leave. On August 9, the mayor of Recife, Roberto Magalhaes, went to the newsroom of Jamal da Camercia, carrying a firearm and threatening columnist Orismar Rodrigues for publishing articles he considered offensive. Magalhaes, former governor of the state and a federal deputy, was irritated by the insinuation that he was behind the alleged censorship of a work by artist Francisco Brennand in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil. On August 16, journalist Nelson Gon~alves, political editorial writer of Jamal da Cidade, was shot at in Bauru in Sao Paulo state. Gon~alves left the newspaper at 11 p.m. and when he was putting his car in his garage, two men on a motorcycle shot at him four times. On August 20, a court in the state of Sao Paulo ordered the newspaper Debate to pay compensation equivalent to 1,000 minimum monthly wages (about 136,000 reais or $71,000) to Judge Antonio Jose Magdalena. The court rejected the defense's argument that the case should follow the requirements of the proposed Press Law concerning caps on compensation. The judge claimed punitive damages for articles published in the newspaper. On September 15, Joaquim Roriz, governor of the Federal District, in a attempt to limit press freedom, publicly threatened the daily newspaper Carreia Braziliense of Brasilia. Showing a lack of understanding of the press's role of freely providing information and expressing opinions, the governor complained that an article the newspaper had published was contrary to his policy of distributing free land. He said "I want to confront the newspaper," and advised people not to read it.