Of the events that have taken placeover the past six months, of note is the International Forum on Freedom of the Press which took place on May 27, 2011 at the Federal Supreme Court headquarters in Brasilia. This was an initiative of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), the National Association of Journalists (ANJ), and the Supreme Court itself. During the opening ceremony, the president of the Supreme Court, Justice Cezar Peluso, emphasized that the Press and the Judiciary have much to learn from each other. There is a continuing concern over judicial censorship, which often prohibits newspapers from publishing reports on certain topics. In the same way, judges are increasing their discretionary power, especially those at the lowest levels, in regard to anticipation of guardianship, reparations for moral damages, and the exercise of the right of reply, starting with the revocation of the Press Law. Unfortunately, two years and two months have passed since censorship was imposed on the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper and on the Estado Group. Recalling this emblematic case, a decision is still pending on an appeal of a decision rendered by Appeals Judge Dacio Vieira of the Court of Justice of the Federal District and Territories. That decision prohibited publication by the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, other outlets in the Estado Group, or any other media that subscribes to the group’s editorial services, of reports containing information resulting from recordings obtained by the Federal Police of Maranhão about supposed irregularities on the part of businessman Fernando Sarney, son of José Sarney, President of the Senate and former President of the Republic, under penalty of incurring a fine of R$ 150,000 for “each act of violation of this judicial order.” The Supreme Court has just disallowed the evidence collected by the Federal Police in so-called Operation Barrica/Faktor that investigated relatives of Senate President José Sarney for crimes such as money laundering. The Supreme Court alleges that the telephone taps were obtained illegally. It has been clarified that the telephone taps were obtained through competent judicial authorization. Disallowing the evidence does not mean absolution of the accused, but only that it is necessary to go back to zero in investigating the crimes attributed to the Sarney clan. It is still unknown whether, and to what extent, that decision may affect the case of censorship against O Estado de S. Paulo. A bill of law, which would regulate the constitutional provision on access to public information (paragraph XXXIII of Art. 5 of the Federal Constitution), is before the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate where it awaits the opinion of the Relator, Senator Fernando Collor de Mello, and has so far received 16 proposals for change. It has already gone through the Committees on Science and Technology and on Human Rights, having been approved by both with favorable reports. The bill was being considered on an urgent basis and could be voted on at any time, so long as there is agreement among the leaders, but through regimental maneuvers of former presidents Collor de Mello and José Sarney, it has been put off indefinitely. A proposal for a constitutional amendment, PEC 33/2009 (Senate) on a diploma in journalism is intended to add an article, 220-A, to the Federal Constitution addressing a requirement for a diploma from a university-level degree program in social communication--journalism, in order to practice the profession. It awaits an evaluation from the Plenary, having been on the docket for some months now. It has been approved by the Committee on Constitution and Justice, which carried out a survey in the Senate to find out the opinion of the senators; only six of the 81 senators would be against it. At its 4th Congress on September 4 past, the PT (Workers Party), to which President Dilma Roussef belongs, debated a proposal for a regulatory framework for the media and produced a motion in that regard, stressing the importance of discussing the “democratization of communications” in the country, a euphemism used by the PT for the so-called social control of the media. The discussion at the 4th Congress culminated in a motion, which is weaker than a resolution, due to the influence and pressure of the President of the Republic, according to reliable sources. The provisions in the paragraph dealing with communication was strongly defended by party leaders, who intend to carry out a campaign for the cause. The PT wants the bill, prepared by the former chief of the Secretariat of Social Communication of the President’s Office, Franklin Martins, to go through a revision and then be considered by the National Congress. The President of the PT defends the bill by saying that it “guarantees freedom of the press and the right to opinion without any type of censorship, but it democratizes information in the country and opens the way for there being only a single version .” He further defends the end to cross ownership and monopolies among media companies. He affirms, moreover, that “they are groups that own more than one outlet, and there must be some sort of limitation on ownership. But not control over content.” President Dilma Roussef continues clearly reiterating the same position she took as a candidate when she appeared before the Brazilian Congress of Newspapers promoted by the ANJ and signed the Declaration of Chapultepec. For her, the only way to regulate the media is by using the remote control to change the channel on the TV. “I know no other type,” she stated, when questioned on the matter. President Roussef made it clear that she does not agree with the motion on regulation of the press. She repeated, through aides, that it “is important to separate the position of the party from that of the government,” and had asked the Minister of Communications, Paulo Bernardo, to review each item of the text proposed by ex-Minister Franklin Martins in search of “banana peels,” that is, paragraphs that would address regulation of content. Unfortunately, the total number of crimes and violations in the period is 25: four murders, two attacks, two arrests; eight instances of physical aggression, six cases of judicial censorship, and three abuses of power. Details on Crimes and Violations On April 9, radio commentator and television host Luciano Leitão Pedrosa was murdered while in a restaurant in the Bela Vista neighborhood in Vitória de Santo Antão, Zona da Mata in the state of Pernambuco. Pedrosa was the host of the program Action and Citizenship on TV Vitória, on which he covered police matters, and he worked at Rádio Metropolitana FM. According to statements from persons related to him, he was part of the opposition to the municipal government and he had received death threats. Witnesses said they heard the murderer announce an assault at the moment of the crime, but circumstances indicate that it was an execution carried out by a gunman in reprisal for the accusations made on Pedrosa’s programs or due to his political activity. On May 3, journalist Valério Nascimento was killed in the backyard of his home in Rio Claro, southern part of the state of Rio de Janeiro. Nascimento, who was the owner of the newspaper Panorama Geral and president of the residents’ association of the region, had been publishing news about problems and irregularities in the administration of the mayor of Bananal, David Morais, reporting on a possible case of corruption. On June 15,the Chairman of the Workers’ Party in the city of Serra do Mel, Rio Grande do Norte state, Edinaldo Filgueira, was murdered as he took six shots from unidentified men. He had founded a newspaper and he kept a blog on matters that involved the city. There is suspicion that the execution was linked to a survey published in his blog questioning the accountability of city hall. On July 4, the Federal Police arrested five men suspected of making up the gang responsible for the murder. In addition to the killing of the journalist, the group is suspected of several other murders in the state. According to the chief of police, “there is no doubt that the journalist was killed because of his profession. He was an opinion maker in his activity.” On September 1, broadcaster Vanderlei Canuto Leandro was murdered with eight shots from two men who fled on a motorcycle in the city of Tabatinga, Amazonas state. There is evidence that the crime was motivated by his practice of journalism. The broadcaster made accusations of corruption in the administration of the mayor of Tabatinga, Saul Nunes Bemerguy. Leandro had also made accusations against Bemerguy to the Prosecutor’s Office of Amazonas state, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, and the Federal Police. On October 5 – the home of radio reporter Francisco Cidimar Ferreira Sombra, known in the city of Russas as Cid Ferreira, 41, was the object of an attack when men shot at the façade of his residence in the center of the city. According to the regional police chief, Luciano Barreto, the attack may have been an attempt to intimidate the broadcaster. Cid Ferreira is known in the city for his program on Rádio Araibú FM. According to police, the criminals put nine shots into the wall, the door, and the window of the house, in addition to the victim’s automobile. No one was hit during the action. On October 6 – a vehicle of the newspaper Gazeta do Oeste, of Toledo, which is owned by columnist Sérgio Ricardo, was hit with shots from a firearm. The car was parked in front of Sérgio Ricardo’s apartment on Santos Dumont Street in the center of Toledo, at 11:30 AM. The automobile was not occupied and received six shots. Sérgio Ricardo attributes the attack to accusations that he had published involving a federal public servant and a factory in Toledo. According to him, the intention was merely to intimidate him. Other cases: On April 12, newsmen for TV Liberal were arrested by the Military Police in the city of Acará, an hour and a half from the capital city, Belém. Journalist Guilherme Mendes, cameraman Carlos Batista, and assistant Edmilson Luz were doing a report on the precariousness of the local public health services and they were hearing statements from users of one of the health posts in the city. On April 20, acting Judge Carlos Roberto de Sousa Dutra, of the 3rd Civil Court of Araguaína issued an injunction prohibiting the Arnaldo Filho website from publishing material on revelations made by former employees of the Dom Orione Catholic College and the Santa Cruz School in the city. On April 25, senator Roberto Requião, at Senate offices, took away the recorder of a reporter from Rádio Bandeirantes, Victor Boyadjian, and threatened to attack him as he was trying to interview the senator about the pension that he receives as a former governor of Paraná State. On July 26, the Senate tabled a request for censure against Senator Roberto Requião (PMDB-PR). On May 21, 2011, two military police officers were removed from the force on suspicion of having committed abuses during the Marijuana March in the center of São Paulo. They used rubber bullets and warning bombs against the demonstrators. The Metropolitan Civil Guard also investigated possible abuses. A reporter who was wearing a badge was hit with jets of pepper spray by a Military Policeman and by an agent of the MCG, who then hit him with his club. On June 21, Victor Avner, a reporter for the newspaper Extra Alagoas was verbally attacked by appeals judge Elisabeth Carvalho do Nascimento in an open session of the Court of Justice of Alagoas (TJ/AL). The judge also ordered confiscation of equipment and demanded the expulsion of the professional from the court. The action of the magistrate coincided with reaction to the latest issue of the paper, which reported on the improper payment of overtime under her direction, based on a repot from the National Council of Justice (CNJ). On June 28, Federal Police in São José do Rio Preto (SP), indicted journalist Allan de Abreu of the Diário da Região, for disseminating information considered to be classified by law enforcement. Such event occurred because the newspaper had published two reports in May including information that had come from telephone taps made by the police in Operation Tamburutaca, which for a year had been investigating a corruption scheme among fiscal auditors, union representatives, and business people to get around labor laws by payment of bribes. On July 18, the Federal Police of São José do Rio Preto decided for now not to indict the editor in chief of the Diário da Região, Fabrício Carareto, who is being investigated for having authorized the publication of the articles. On July 15, the newspaper Daqui, which circulates in the city of Montes Claros (north of Minas Gerais state, 420 km from Belo Horizonte), had its edition confiscated during a visit of the state governor Antônio Augusto Anastasia, by decision of Judge Marco Antônio Ferreira of the 3rd Civil Court, who granted an injunction at the request of mayor Luiz Tadeu Leite (PMDB party). The newspaper was not cited. Carrying out of the search and seizure order was done by city patrolmen, without the presence of the Military Police or a Justice Official. At some newsstands the newspapers were picked up by the mayor’s own attorneys. In the month of August, 2011, death threats intensified with anonymous messages and phone calls. The newspaper Daqui filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Police, which opened an investigation. On August 6, Judge José Jorge Ribeiro da Luz, of the 5th Civil Court of Porto Velho (RO), prohibited Radio Cultura FM from giving the name of the construction company Engcom on one of its programs. The company was responsible for building the new headquarters of the Legislative and Executive Branches of the state government. The prohibition was due to a request for compensation for moral damages after statements made by the journalist that the bidding process for the new Executive Branch offices had irregularities. The fine for contempt of the order is R$ 3,000 for each item of information disseminated about the construction company. On August 29, in an injunction granted by Appeals Judge Leonel Pires Ohlweiler of the 9th Civil Chamber of the Court of Justice of Rio Grande do Sul the newspaper Zero Hora and other outlets of the RBS Group were prohibited from publishing the name or picture of councilman Adenir Manguje Webber (DEM), of the city of Dom Pedro de Alcântara in the state, under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 1,000.00. The councilman is accused of involvement in the case known as “Farra das Diárias” , which originated in a series of articles about councilmen in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul state who utilized per diem allowances paid from public funds for personal vacations on the pretext of taking refresher courses. As a result, 13 people involved were accused by the Prosecutor’s office in a public civil suit. The RBS appealed the decision and had the injunction reversed on September 15 last by the same judge who had granted it. On September 14, the magazine Viver Brasil, of Minas Gerais state was required to recall issues of its edition and take off the Internet a report about supposed irregularities done by the mayor of Nova Lima, Carlinhos Rodrigues, of the Workers’ Party. According to Judge Adriane Rabelo, of Nova Lima, the magazine committed abuse of freedom of the press by harming the honor and image of the mayor. On September 26, reporter Felipe Werneck, of the O Estado de S.Paulo, was arrested by officers from the Tourist Police Station (Deat) in Rio de Janeiro, after an incident related to the restriction on the work of journalists who were investigating the assault of a hostel in the southern area.The reporter, after meeting hostility and responding to the provocation of a police officer, was taken to the 14th Precinct of the Civil Police, accused of contempt of authority. Werneck made a statement and was released. An investigation was opened on the charge of contempt, which will be sent to the Fourth Special Criminal Court.