The foundation of a democratic press has two pillars: free enterprise and freedom of expression. Brazilian media companies do not face problems on both of these fronts. However, the second pillar is under constant threat. Events during this period have extrapolated the threats, which are aimed at silencing the press. If the recommendations of the National Plan on Human Rights (NPHR) and of Confecom are passed by the Brazilian Parliament and sanctioned by the future president, there will be a list of state institutions ready to control the press. In December of last year, a National Conference on Communications was held which issued hundreds of recommendations on social control of the media and changes in the regulatory framework of communications. Organizations tied to the editorial arm of communications—notably ABERT, ANJ, and Aner—resigned from the organizing committee when their complaints were not given attention on the principles of freedom of the press and free enterprise. Several conclusions harmful to freedom may become future laws. Recently President Lula da Silva appointed a committee of five ministers in order to get the recommendations of the conference included in a bill of law. They are to be work under the direction of Franklyn Martins, Minister of Communications. This project to develop a bill calls for a seminar on the regulatory framework to be held in Brasilia now in November under the sponsorship of Secom. Under the guise of updating the regulatory framework, federal authorities, just as in other countries, will attempt to cancel broadcast licenses. The next step will be the inclusion of measures that restrict freedom of expression and the right to information. At the end of October, the Legislative Assembly of the state of Ceará passed a law authored by a representative of the Workers’ Party, Rachel Marques, which creates a Social Communications Council in the state, following a suggestion of Confecom. To go into effect, this proposal still depends on approval by the Socialist Governor Cid Gomes. The bill contemplates that the Council will be tied to the Secretary of the Civil House of Ceará, which is going to prepare a state communications policy and will “monitor, receive complaints, and send its opinions to competent entities on abuses and violations of human rights by communications media in the state of Ceará.” The text does not specify just which entities are competent to judge the complaints, nor does it set sanctions to be imposed, although it has already received the support of the Union of Journalists of Ceará. In terms of its wording, the text specifies that the Council of 25 members will have seven representatives from the executive and legislative branches of the government of Ceará and from faculties of communication, eight representatives from the media, and ten from civil society, including unions and student movements. In São Paulo, the leader of the Workers’ Party in the Legislative Assembly, Representative Antonio Mentor, submitted a bill that sets regional mechanisms for control of the media. Like the proposal from Ceará, that of the São Paulo WP also contemplates the creation of a council to monitor the media. Encouraged by its continuing majority, both in the Chamber of Deputies and in the Federal Senate, the Brazilian Left holds the power to solidify its threats included in the National Plan on Human Rights (NPHR) and the “conclusions” of the National Conference on Communications (Confecom) that the federal government promoted at the end of last year. For some time now the Workers’ Party government has been testing out some type of social control – the new name for censorship – on journalistic activities that go beyond existing legal controls. In a political rally for candidate Dilma Rousseff in Campinas, in the state of São Paulo, Lula leveled harsh criticism at the media and spoke out by saying that the population no longer needs opinion makers. “We are public opinion,” he said. The National Association of Newspapers, the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB), and the National Association of Magazine Publishers (ANER) have criticized the president’s excesses. The president’s attack coincided with a series of revelations made in the press about influence trafficking and other irregularities practiced by government officials tied to the Civil House. “There is a magazine, whose name I can’t remember. It oozes hate and lies,” stated Lula in an indirect reference to the magazine Veja. Those protests did not hold back organizations sympathetic to the WP. Days later, union centers, the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement and the Communist Party of Brazil organized a demonstration against media that seek to undermine the government. The demonstration brought together 400 people and took place at the headquarters of the Journalists’ Union of São Paulo. All of these legislative initiatives are unconstitutional, because the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court decided in April of last year, when revoking the Press Law imposed by the 1964 military dictatorship, that “it is not the State that watches over the press, but rather the press that watches over the State.” Such moves constitute a return to press censorship. Attacks against freedom of expression are not limited, however, to intentions, bills, or threats. In September, Judge José Liberato Costa Póvoa wrote a decision that imposed prior censorship on 84 media outlets in the state of Tocantins and others, prohibiting them from disseminating any information concerning a scandal that was reaching the governor and candidate for reelection Carlos Gaguim (PMDB-TO) and the Prosecutor General for the State, Haroldo Rastoldo. The two had been cited in telephone taps done by the Federal Police under court authority for the purpose of providing supporting evidence on over-billing of prices for cleaning services. According to revelations published by the newspapers, the judge’s wife, Simone Cardoso da Silva Candeo Póvoa, had been appointed as an advisor to the government of the state, a position that would guarantee R$ 3,600 a month extra for the Póvoa couple’s income. The Court of Justice of Tocantins reversed the judge’s decision. The original decision brought repudiation by members of the press. In the state of Paraná, the candidate for governor of the state, Beto Richa (PSDB), managed to prohibit dissemination of the results of five polls on voting intentions. For the ANJ, the prohibition constitutes prior censorship. In the south of Brazil, a legal hell continues for the gaucho newspaper Já and its owner, journalist Elmar Bones, due to a story published ten years ago under the headline “Rigotto Case – A US$ 654 Million Heist and Two Unexplained Deaths.” Lacking in commentary, but full of facts, the story merited some of the most important regional journalism prizes, such as the Esso Regional and the ARI from the Rio Grande Press Association. Nonetheless, the newspaper was ordered to pay a civil award that was incompatible with its financial situation and it was forced to close its doors. The report told of the participation of Lindomar Rigotto, brother of then state representative and subsequently state governor Germano Rigotto, in a bidding process for the state electric company. Named financial director for the company by his brother, Lindomar ended up causing the scandal that resulted in a Parliamentary Investigative Committee that brought charges against him and eleven other persons and eleven companies. According the Committee’s final report, the whole thing had been set up by Lindomar. “Of everything that was investigated, passive corruption and illegal enrichment by Lindomar Vargas Rigotto were proven,” wrote the spokesperson of the PIC, Representative Pepe Vargas (PT-RS). The Ministry of Culture is preparing a bill to be sent to the National Congress that contemplates, among other things, that copyrights to journalistic texts will go into public domain after being published for the first time. This is a contradiction in that Brazil was one of the signatories of the first international accord in defense of intellectual property. Among other relevant events, the following merit attention: On July 10, radio reporter Rodrigo Santos, of Radio Cidade in Brusque (SC), was attacked in retaliation for his reports covering undue interference in the selection of soccer umpires. The attack came from the son of the president of the Catarinense Soccer Federation (State of Santa Catarina) and advisor to the entity, Delfim Peixoto Neto. The basis of the attack was supposedly a video disseminated by the journalist on his Internet blog in which one of the board members of the CSF revealed that Peixoto Neto had been interfering in the appointment of umpires. As a result of the slaps and kicks he received, Rodrigo Santos lost consciousness and had to be taken to a hospital. On September 18, President Lula stated during a campaign rally in Campinas that “we are going to knock out some magazines and newspapers that behave like political parties.” Then, still in reference to the press, he said that “those people can’t stand me.” In a note, the ANJ lamented the fact that the president had forgotten his own words, pronounced in 2006 as he signed the Declaration of Chapultepec, when he said, quoting exactly: “I owe the freedom of the press of my country for the fact that we have been able to reach the presidency after 20 years. I lost three elections. I doubt that there is anyone from the press who has ever seen me complain or blame someone because I lost the elections.” On October 18, in the city of Caicó (PB), journalist Francisco Gomes de Medeiros, 46 years old, wasshot three times by a suspect riding by on a motorcycle while he was sitting in front of his house in the Paraíba neighborhood. Seriously wounded, Francisco was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died a short time later. Police arrested a suspect who confessed that he had committed the crime in reprisal for his revelations about drug trafficking. Popularly known as F. Gomes, the journalist maintained a blog on the Internet and was director of the news department at Radio Caicó AM, where he presented the program General Command. On October 30 in Três Rios, Paraíba do Sul (RJ), journalist José Rubem Pontes de Souza, 39 years old and director-president of the Entre-Rios Jornal, was fatally shot in the neck by someone who was passing by in a car and who then fled. The attack occurred just after Souza left a party at a bar. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he passed away. For more than a year judicial censorship has persisted at the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo. The paper is prevented from publishing any information it has on the “Boi Barrica” operation, by which the Brazilian Federal Police are investigating the activities of businessman Fernando Sarney, son of José Sarney, former president of the Republic and now president of the Federal Senate. The newspaper was prohibited by the Court of Justice of the Federal District on July 13 of last year from dissemination facts related to that operation.