BRAZIL Press freedom has been weakened by an increase in the pressures and acts of violence against newspapers and journalists, and the absolute impunity for crimes against media workers. Eight long-standing murder cases remain unsolved. In 1995 there were four murders connected to professional activity, and another four in the past year. In the case of Zaqueu de Oliveira, judicial authorities in Minas Gerais state began to use all available legal means to speed up the murder case after an investigation into the killing was carried out by the IAPA and the ANJ (National Association of Newspapers). It is still possible that the National Parliament might pass a new, coercive press law. During the election campaign, journalists faced moments of tension and difficulties in doing their work. Candidates and political parties went to court countless times to exercise the right of reply and on a number of occasions judges, acting under the Electoral Law, ordered the seizure of newspapers. These are the details: On August 13, 1998, the Interior Police presented a report saying that technical and scientific investigations provided no reliable conclusions about the murder of journalist Manoel Leal de Oliveira on January 14, 1998. Leal was the owner of the weekly newspaper A Region in Itabuna, Bahia state. He systematically criticized various influential people in the region, especially the mayor, Fernando Gomes. In July of 1998, two police officers case broadened the investigation of the murder of Jose Carlos Mesquita in Buriti, in Rondonia. Seven months later, authorities have not disclosed any information about the inquiries and the crime is still unsolved. Mesquita, 39, was a radio commentator and host of the program "Open Space" on TV Ouru Verde in the city Ouro Preto do Oeste, 350 kilometers from Porto Velho, in the northern part of the country. He was shot three times in front of the radio station that he owned and where he presented the program, which denounced various problems. April 20: Soccer coach Luiz Felipe Scolari of Sociedade Deportiva Palmeiras in the city of Sao Paulo punched journalist Gilvan Ribeiro of Diario Popular of Sao Paulo after a practice. April 22: Journalists involved in the daily coverage of the Palmeiras team were threatened and attacked at the training center Barra Funda located in the neighborhood of the same name in Sao Paulo. July 18: The office of the Instituto Gazeta-Dados-Fonte in Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state, was broken into, looted and robbed. The thieves took five boxes containing 3,598 completed forms from the most recent opinion survey from the state governor's race. None of the electronic equipment, computers or printers in the office was taken. The Institute Gazeta Dados-Gonte is part of the Grupo Gazeta de Comunicacao. According to an editorial in the newspaper A Gazeta, also of Cuiaba, there have been systematic attacks on all the group's companies since the beginning of the national election campaign. July 22: The journalist Efrem Ribeiro of the newspaper Meio Norte, of Teresina (capital of the state of Piaui) was attacked by Capt. Moises of the Military Police, the assistant of the vice governor of Piaui, Osmar Araujo. July 29: Nine journalists were injured during a conflict in Rio de Janeiro between demonstrators opposed to the sale of Telebras .(Telecomunicacoes do Brasil S/A) and the Military Police. May 12, 1998: Commentator HeIcio de Castro Araujo of community radio KFM Maratoii of Barras in the state of Piaui reported receiving death threats both in person and from anonymous telephone callers. May 23, 1998: The Regional Electoral Tribunal granted habeas corpus to atilio Claudino de Araujo Junior, news editor and owner of the newspaper Realidade Cidade of Presidente Prudente in the state of Sao Paulo. This allows Araujo JUnior to be free when he responds to the four-month and 15-day sentence of an electoral judge on charges that his reports damaged the reputation of the former mayor of the city of Santo Anastacio, Roberto Volte. July 30: The journalist Juca Kfouri of Folha de S. Paulo was unanimously acquitted by the three judges of the Appeals Court of the 7th Criminal Chamber in Rio de Janeiro. Kfouri was tried for libeling the president of the Brazilian Soccer Federation, Ricardo Teixeira. August 6: Nelson Jobim, an official of the Supreme Federal Tribunal, requested a review of the attorney general's challenge to the constitutionality of part of the Statute Concerning Children and Adolescents. The case involves a request by the National Association of Newspapers ANJ Brazil concerning the confiscation of newspapers under any circumstance. The attorney general challenges the second paragraph of Article 247 of the statute which provides for a maximum of two days suspension of broadcasting by radio or TV stations and the publication of newspapers that publicize the name or picture of a child involved in a crime. This is considered a form of censorship of press freedom, a right that is guaranteed in the first paragraph of Article 220 of the Federal Constitution of Brazil. August 12: The federal deputy Marta Suplicy (Workers Party) proposed in the Chamber of Deputies the formation of a permanent committee to study, analyze and monitor television broadcasting in Brazil. The idea is to oversee compliance with Article 221 of the Federal Constitution which requires television networks to make educational, artistic and cultural programming a priority. The legislator says it is a mistake to say that "social control" of the media is a return to censorship. August 29: The Superior Tribunal of Justice decided that in cases against the media for moral damages, fines should be applied based on the Federal Constitution and not the Press Law which provides for much smaller fines. The Tribunal of Justice of Rio de Janeiro ordered the Jornal do Brasil to pay the equivalent of 500 monthly minimum wages (65,000 reais) to Ester Losovski, former president of the Federal Narcotics Council, for an article accusing her of using and selling drugs. Jomal do Brasil said the fine should be based on the Press Law which sets indemnification at between two and 20 minimum wages (260 and 2,600 reais). September 1: The Workers Party requested the right of reply in the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo for an article published August 26 saying that presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, had not registered the sale of land inherited by his wife Marisa and her 10 siblings. The newspaper's lawyers held that by entering public life, the candidate "voluntarily opens the door to a part of his private life" that can be a subject of interest to the public. But on September 2 the court granted the right of reply to a report in Folha de S. Paulo arguing that "freedom of the press is not absolute, if the publication constitutes slander, libel or defamation." September 2: The Superior Electoral Tribunal official, Vicente Cernicchiaro, suspended broadcast of Lula da Silva's court-ordered response by the news program of Red Bandeirantes de Televisiio. The station requested the suspension, saying the tape sent by Lula had election propaganda and insults against the station. Lula had been granted the right to respond to eight points, but only four were allowed. September 9: The Regional Electoral Tribunal of the state of Sergipe prohibited Radio Libertade AM, owned by former mayor Jose Almeida Lima, a Workers Party Senate candidate, from broadcasting for 72 hours. The court said the station was broadcasting opinions favorable to Jose Lima and unfavorable to his opponents outside the time set aside for free campaign broadcasts. This is prohibited by Law 9.504-98. The station was fined 1.1 million reais. The week before, the same court fined Radio Jomal AM, owned by the former governor and PFL gubernatorial candidate Joao Alves Filho, 480,000 reais, also for broadcasting opinions favorable to Alves Filho. September 11, 1998: The Sistema Brasilero de Televisiio (SBT) was ordered to carry Lula's presidential campaign commercials for two days. The station had failed to transmit them in violation of the campaign advertising plan established by the electoral courts. September 30, 1998: TV Caburaf, a TV Bandeirantes affiliate in Boa Vista, state of Roraima, was taken off the air by electoral judge Humberto Teixeira. Federal Police officers arrested Valdo de Oliveira, the only station employee who was working. He was freed on bond. October 3: The electoral court system ordered the SBT television network to suspend its usual broadcasting for 24 hours and pay a fine of 192.2 million reais. The judgment said the announcer Carlos Mass, known as "Ratinho," had violated Article 45 of the electoral law by "broadcasting an opinion contrary" to the candidacy of Mario Covas, and favoring the campaign of the PPB candidate, Paulo Maluf, "praising his proposal for public security of the state." October 4: In Piaui state, the electoral courts closed two television stations-Meio Norte, an SBT affiliate and ltapecuru, an affiliate of CNT -for 24 hours on election day, alleging that they had not obeyed this year's election regulations. October 12: Judge Ingo Sarlet granted the request of prosecutor Vanderlei Willig and ordered the seizure of Jomal do Povo of Cachoeira do SuI in Rio de Janeiro state. According to the judge, the edition had information about a meeting of regional leaders of a party alliance in a space that had been set aside for one of the candidates for state governor. October 13: An attempt was made to censor a supplement of the newspaper Gazeta Mercantil to be distributed in Rio Grande do SuI on Sept. 20, the anniversary of the founding of the state. Because the supplement had an article describing the state's economic growth, the publication was accused of election propaganda even though the article did not have names, pictures or any reference to the candidates for governor. October 14: Judge Carmecy Rosa Maria Alves de Oliveira of the Regional Electoral Tribunal, while overseeing the 1998 campaign in the state of Goias, imposed a half million reais in fines for abuse of the election advertising law in the course of one week. Three radio stations in the state were fined for infractions committed in programming during the first round of the election. October 21; The electoral court system denied the request of the PPB gubernatorial candidate in the state of Sao Paulo, Paulo Maluf, to block publication of campaign polls by the Datafolha institute, which is linked to the Folha de S. Paulo. October 24; In Porto Alegre, capital of Rio Grande do SuI, two local newspapers, Zero Hora and Correio do Povo, had copies of most of their press run seized that day under the order of the Regional Electoral Tribunal (TRE). Copies of Jomal do Comercio and the regional supplement of Gazeta Mercantil were also seized. The TRE ordered the seizure of the first section of 160,000 copies of Zero Hora. Like Correio do Povo, Zero Hora had to publish the rest of its press run - almost 40,000 copies - with a response from the Frente Popular. TRE judge Carlos Roberto Can!bal issued an injunction banning the publication of an advertisement in Zero Hora's Sunday edition. (The ad from the PSDB party had President Fernando Henrique Cardoso showing his support to Antonio Britto, who under Brazilian electoral regulations had recently stepped down from his post as governor to campaign for another term in office.) Next, a new decision determined that the newspaper should include the right of reply of the Frente Popular, but this ruling was suspended at the end of night by another TRE-issued injunction. The ANJ directors stated that "freedom of expression is one of the most important values of a state of law, and it cannot be again restricted on any premise and for anyone, whomever it may be." In Teresina, capital of the state of Piaui, part of the press run of the newspaper Meio Norte, was seized under a ruling by an electoral judge, Sebastiao Martins, on grounds of having reproduced material from edition no. 1517 of the national newsweekly [stoE. In the judgment of electoral judicial authorities, the article could interfere in the elections because it criticized a candidate. The copies of [stoE flown to Piaui were seized at the Teresina alrport on the orders of Manuel Soares, an electoral judge, at the petition of the governor. October 25; In Divinópolis, Minas Gerais state, the print run of Jomal Agora was seized on the orders of Judge Neide da Silva Martins, of the 102nd Electoral Zone of the Divin6polis court district. The case is now in the hands of Brazil's Attorney General, Geraldo Brindeiro. The ANJ issued a protest note because it considers the seizure of newspapers is an attack on the free circulation of publications and an affront to the freedom of the press, which is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution.