16 October 2014


The situation of freedom of expression showed an improvement compared with the last report, since no murder of a press professional has occurred. The same thing cannot be said, however, concerning attacks.  The ANJ, in collaboration with the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (ABRAJI), counted up forty-eight cases of attacks against journalists and other professionals in the field. After a series of allegations of corruption on the press involving the largest government-owned Brazilian company – Petrobras – members of the government party started to speak of “media coup” or “media conspiracy” to influence the results of elections in Brazil. On October 13th, President Dilma Rousseff met with social movements that request a political reform that includes “social media control”. In a blog interview, she confirmed that, if she is reelected, she will try to introduce during her second mandate an “economic regulation of the media” which would open up the way for governmental intervention on the freedom of mass media. Cases of judicial censure, which increase during pre-election periods, every two years, exceeded the worst expectations, even before the first round of voting for the president and governors on October 5.  Court decisions have made of this type by lower-court judges, which are unconstitutional, and get reviewed by higher courts, but that does not always repair the damage caused to the right of Brazilians to be freely informed. A number of cases of judicial censure have occurred.  According to information from ABRAJI, by September 26, 2014, 138 cases were recorded of requests for removal of content against eleven journalism companies. September 12, 2014:  The magazine Isto É was removed from circulation due to a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Marleide Queiroz of the Third Family Court of Fortaleza (Ceará), at the request of the governor of the state, Cid Gomes (Pros). The injunction prohibits Três Editorial from selling the magazine Isto É under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 5 million.  It also called for collection of copies distributed on September 13.  Cid Gomes said that he brought the suit for slander, defamation, and moral damages, after he received an e-mail from the editorial offices of the magazine in which he was mentioned as one of the beneficiaries of irregularities in the management of Petrobras  on the part of Paulo Roberto Costa, president of the company.  In a note sent to the press, the governor denied any personal involvement or alliance with Costa.  On September 17, Justice Luiz Roberto Barroso of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) allowed circulation of the edition of Isto É that cited Cid Gomes. September 4, 2014:  The Consultor Jurídico (ConJur) webpage had to remove a text from its site about the decision that ordered playwright Lucas Arantes, author of a theater production inspired by the case of Isabella Nardoni, to pay compensation for moral damages caused to the biological mother of the little girl.  The text was published on September 2, 2014.  According the suit, Judge Fernanda de Carvalho Queiroz alleged that the case is under judicial secrecy and information about the case cannot be disseminated by the press.  The webpage had twenty-four hours to remove the report, under penalty of a daily fine of R$ 10,000. July 31, 2014: The newspaper Correio do Estado was ordered by Assistant Judge Romero Osme Dias Lopes of the Regional Electoral Court (TRE-MS) to offer the right of reply to gubernatorial candidate Delcidio do Amaral (PT) of Mato Grosso do Sul state. According to the opinion issued, the candidate requested the right to reply to an article published by the newspaper on August 16, based on a report by the magazine Veja.  The article was headlined “More than 160 Candidates to be Judged by the TRE,” and cited Delcidio do Amaral as one of those supposedly involved in the congressional investigation of Petrobras. August 28, 2014:  An order issued by Appeals Judge Carlos Tork of the Regional Electoral Court of Amapá state (TRE-AP) suspended the transmissions of all radio and television stations of the Sistema Beija-Flor de Comunicação in Amapá (AP) until October 5, 2014.  The group made up of two television stations and 16 radio outlets belongs to the family of Gilvam Borges (PMDS-AP).  The suit, brought by a coalition of the political parties PSDB, PT, PSOL and PCdoB, alleged unfairness in broadcasts favoring electoral candidates Waldez Góes (PDT), Gilvam Borges, and Marcos Reátegui (PSC).  According to the order, the stations could transmit only during the free electoral advertising hour, and then they had to announce every fifteen minutes that they were off the air for having violated the Election Law. The decision set a daily fine of R$ 15,000 for failing to obey it.  On September 1, 2014, Judge Vicente Gomes of the TRE-AP overturned Tork’s decision and granted a preliminary injunction that permitted operation of the stations, but prohibited them from interviewing, listening to, commenting on, or citing the names of candidates. August 19, 2014: the newspaper Correio do Estado was prohibited from publishing material on Senator Delcidio do Amaral (PT-MS).  According to the decision of Appeals Judge Divoncir Schreiner Maran of the Regional Electoral Court of Mato Grosso do Sul (TRE-MS), the newspaper could not publish articles that offended the honor and image of the PT candidate for governor of the state, under penalty of a fine that could reach R$ 200,000 for each violation. July 4, 2014: The website VEJA.com published an item that states that it had been the target of two preliminary injunctions issued by the Court of Justice of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), both written by lawyer João Tanredo and the group that he heads, the Defenders of Human Rights Institute (DDH).  The first suit was brought about by a report published on March 8, 2014 on VEJA.com, and commented upon by journalist Reinaldo Azevedo on his blog, about the use of money collected at two events sponsored by the DDH related to the disappearance of bricklayer Amarildo Dias de Souza.  The second one was based on a note published by the column Radar on-line, which reported that the family of Claudia Silva Ferreira, killed in Rio de Janeiro while being dragged by a police vehicle, had withdrawn authorization of the attorney to represent her in court, after he had boasted that he would do it. July 7, 2014:  A preliminary injunction was issued that prohibits the newspaper O Paraense, published by the Agência Amazônia de Notícias Ltda, from disseminating news which, according to Jader Barbalho (PMDB/PA), the plaintiff in the suit, would offend  him directly and deliberately.  The newspaper was also to remove from its site and from its FaceBook page publications that offend the honor of Senator Helder Barbalho, who is also a candidate for governor, and son of Jader Barbalho. The fine is R$ 500.00 per violation. Chronology of the major occurrences: September 16, 2014:  Marina Dias, a reporter for the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, along with several other journalists, were attacked by the president’s security guards during the debate between presidential candidates sponsored by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, in Aparecida, SP. September 5, 2014: Journalist Ribeiro Júnior, of the website SiligaNews.com.br, received death threats after publishing an article that cites the name of the former mayor of Fátima do Sul, MS, Ilda Salgado Mahado. August 20, 2014: Journalists Bruno Wendel of the newspaper Correio* and Priscila Machado from the newspaper A Tarde, both in the city of Salvador (BA) stated that they had received threats from uniformed policemen.  According to the website “Bahia toda hora,” the officers did not like the coverage of the case of Geovane Mascarenhas de Santana, who disappeared on August 2, after being stopped by uniformed police. July 24, 2014: Reporter Erikson Rezende of TV Centro América, the Globo TV affiliate in Cuibá, MT, was hit during the recording of a report on mechanisms that allow for reporting abuses in the 2014 electoral campaign. July 24, 2014: Photographers were attacked as they recorded the release of three demonstrators from the Gericinó Penitentiary Complex in Rio de Janeiro, RJ.  The attacks occurred upon the departure of the three activists, accused of violent acts during demonstrations. July 17, 2014: According to an article published on the G1 portal, a reporter and a videographer from TV Mirante (a Globo affiliate), were victims of an ambush in Anapurus, MA.  The team was producing a report that would be shown on the program “Fantástico.” According to information from Regional Police headquarters in Chapadinha, MA, the broadcast employees were having lunch at a gas station when they were overcome by seven armed men, who took a camera away from them. July 13, 2014: At least fourteen press professionals suffered attacks during the demonstration that took place at Saens Peña Square in Rio de Janeiro against the World Cup.  The police blockade lasted three hours and prevented demonstrators and journalists from leaving the location.  Uniformed police attacked photographers and videographers as they recorded the activities of activists. June 28,  2014: Two journalists were attacked by police officers while reporting on the protest against the World Cup in Saens Peña Square in the northern part of Rio de Janeiro. One of them was photographer Marcos de Paula from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, who had the lens shade of his camera broken. June 25, 2014: Radio station Xodó FM, of Nossa Senhora da Glória, SE, was invaded by representatives of the Landless Peasants Movement (MST).  Militants from the group from various settlements in the region were protesting against radio reporter Anselmo Tavares, who was hosting the program “Jornal da Xodó” at the time of the occupation.  During the demonstration, the walls of the station were spray-painted with the words “Anselmo Tavares—gunman of communication.” June 20, 2014: during the protest called “#20 Return of the Giant” in Rio de Janeiro, some twelve persons were arrested, including three reporters from Mídia Ninja.  Reporter Felipe Peçanha was arrested while broadcasting live from the demonstration. June 19, 2014: A car from TV Gazeta was heavily damaged, and videographer Thomas Jefferson was struck by street-marking cones by a group of masked individuals during a demonstration that took place in Marginal Pinheiros, in the southern part of São Paulo, SP. June 17, 2014: Freelancer Marcelo Lyra was attacked by uniformed police during a confrontation with demonstrators from “#OcupeEstelita” in Fortaleza, CE. June 15, 2014: Reporter Vera Araújo from the newspaper O Globo, was arrested for disrespect of authority after filming the arrest of an Argentine fan in Rio de Janeiro. June 13, 2014: A photojournalist from Correio do Povo, Ricardo Giusti, was victim of a flash bomb as he was covering a demonstration near the location of Fan Fest in Porto Alegre, RS. In Fortaleza, CE, the reporter from Coletiva Nigéria was attacked by security guards of the FIFA Fan Fest, and had his camera stolen.  In Rio de Janeiro, videographer Rodrigo Carvalho suffered a blow to the hand from a nightstick wielded by a unformed police officer. June 12, 2014: At least eleven press professionals were attacked during demonstrations at the opening of the World Cup in Brazil.  In Belo Horizonte, MG, two videographers from the Reuters agency were attacked as they accompanied protests at Liberty Square; one of them Sérgio Moraes, who was hit on the head with an object, suffering brain trauma.  In São Paulo, during demonstrations near the Carrão subway station, some professionals who were covering the event were hurt.  CNN journalists Barbra Arvantidis and Shasta Darlington were hit with fragments from flash bombs. June 9, 2014: André Liohn, a photographer and blogger from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, was attacked by subway employees at an assembly of such workers from the state of São Paulo, who were deliberating suspension of a strike. June 4, 2014: A videographer from the program “Brasil Urgente,” of TV Bandeirantes network was attacked by a uniformed policeman from Rocam during coverage of a return of property ceremony in Vila Maria, São Paulo, SP. The police officer approached him violently, hitting him in the face and demanding his documents. June 3, 2014: A reporting team from the website Infonet was threatened by armed men and had its equipment destroyed while doing investigative research in Salgado, SE, for an article about Ítalo Bruno Araújo  Fonseca, stepson of the secretary of state for public safety, who is suspected of having approached a taxi driver with heavy arms and threatening an attack the prior week. May 22, 2014: A reporting team from Rede Globo was expelled from a demonstration at the Clube Hebraica in Rio de Janeiro.  The protest brought together around one thousand educators to decide on the course of a strike, who then went out on a march to Guanabara Palace. May 9, 2014: Dirceu Marques de Oliveira (“Dirceu Borboleta”), head of the newspaper Tribuna do Povo of Várzea da Palma, MG, was the target of an attempted murder. According to police, Dirceu was delivering the latest edition of the newspaper in the center of the city, in front of city hall, when he was approached by two men on a motorcycle, who shot at him, hitting him in the shoulder.  Dirceu was taken to a hospital but was not at risk of death.  The suspects have not yet been identified, and the journalist was not able to recognize them. Dirceu had previously been the target of attacks in 2007 and 2011.  On the paper’s website, the director accuses a group of politicians in the city as those behind the crimes. May 9, 2014: A reporting team from the newspaper Extra was threatened during an operation being conducted by federal police over health insurance fraud in the Postal Service, for suspicion of involvement in the scheme, in the western part of Rio de Janeiro.  The reporters were following the operation when the suspects began to uses their cars, twice, to intimidate the reporters. April 11, 2014: Some reporters from Brazil and international agencies were attached physically and verbally by uniformed police during the eviction of the Telerj slum in Engenho Novo, RJ.  Reporter Bruno Amorim, from the newspaper O Globo, was arrested and attacked by uniformed police after photographing the eviction operation in the slum. April 11, 2014: Reporter Leonardo Barros, of the newspaper O Globo, was threatened by police during the eviction operation of the Telerj slum in Engenho Novo, RJ. April 7, 2014: A car from the Estadão (O Estado de São Paulo newspaper), was approached by three drug traffickers in Vila dos Pinheiros, RJ, one of them with a pistol, who asked what the reporters were doing at the location. The team stated that they were looking for Armed Forces vehicles to take photographs, and were allowed by the group to pass by, so long as they did not take pictures of the three of them. . April 5, 2014: Professionals from TV Liberal, a Globo TV affiliate, were attacked during a demonstration by uniformed police in Belém, PA, in front of the 6th Battalion of the unit.  Videographer Jairo Lopes had his camera taken from him and was attacked with blows until he was unconscious, while reporter Márcio Lins was hit on the head and face and fainted. April 4, 2014: Radio host Jair Wathier of Radio 104.1 of Giruá, RS, was threatened with a knife by a listener inside the studio, after he failed to play a song requested by telephone.