MIAMI, Florida (June 17, 2016)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed solidarity with the Brazilian press organization ANJ in the face of pressure and criticism by the Brazil Association of Judges (AMB) for its decision to award its annual Press Freedom prize to the newspaper Gazeta do Povo and to five journalists of that paper.
The ANJ (National Association of Newspapers of Brazil) awarded the 2016 ANJ Press Freedom Prize to the Curitiba newspaper Gazeta do Povo and five journalists of that paper that have been the object of legal harassment and have faced numerous lawsuits for exposing in their press reports exaggerated remuneration received by members of the Judicial Branch and of the Attorney General's Office in Paraná state.
With this award the ANJ emphasized the quality of the recipients' journalism and the newspaper's courage in providing information of public interest, demonstrating the privileges of judges, magistrates and lawyers and prosecutors of the Paraná State Attorney General's Office, something that has resulted in 45 individual lawsuits being filed against the newspaper and its reporters and techies.
The judges, who allege that their honor is being attacked, have filed individual lawsuits in various courts, requiring the accused to go to a number of cities in the state to appear in court. Those involved are reporters Chico Marés, Eucledes Lucas García and Rogerio Waldrigues Galindo; systems analyst Evandro Balmant and infographics compiler Guilherme Storck.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, supported the reaction of the ANJ, which through its president, Carlos Lindenberg Neto, rejected the judges association's questioning and protested the numerous lawsuits, which he called "a retaliation against the newspaper and its professionals."
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, cited the Declaration of Chapultepec and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in which it is laid down that no journalist or media should be punished for disseminating denouncements against those in power, and he recalled that public officials are subject to greater scrutiny by the people.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.