Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

After October, there was a marked radicalization of extreme right-wing supporters who, in protest against the results of that month's elections, camped in front of military units to demand intervention and thus prevent the inauguration of the then president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Many journalists were harassed and assaulted during those days. The aggressions became more radical on January 8, when thousands of people invaded and attacked the headquarters of Brasilia's three branches of government.

The new government took office with promises of appeasement and respect for the press. Reporters' access to government areas was normalized. However, the Executive has shown signs of trying to intervene in potentially illegal content circulating on social networks. After January 8, the Supreme Court, the Executive, and the Brazilian Congress are discussing models and laws to reduce polarization and extremism, to control hate speech and content that threatens democracy.

The position of the National Newspaper Association (ANJ) has been to hold platforms responsible only after there is a notification of illegal content or when it is sponsored content. The ANJ has also advocated for an end to anonymous or fake accounts on digital platforms and requested digital platforms to revalue news content and remunerate the media.

From October 30 until the inauguration of President Lula on January 1, 70 incidents against media and journalists were reported in 19 states and Brasilia, including harassment, physical aggressions, and threats. One radio station was attacked with gunshots, and another was set on fire.

On November 2, a cameraman and a TV Band host were beaten by a demonstrator during a protest in Porto Alegre (RS). On that day, a TV Record team was prevented from working when it arrived at the Southern Military Command in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul to cover a protest calling for the intervention of military forces in the electoral process.

On November 1, a reporter and a cameraman from Candidés TV, part of the MPA Communication System, were threatened and assaulted by pro-Bolsonaro demonstrators in Minas Gerais. Likewise, radio Gaúcha and RBS TV reporters were intimidated by demonstrators blocking the RS-040 highway in Rio Grande do Sul in protest against the election results. On December 12, the Bolsonaristas carried out their first big collective act of predation in Brasília, with a demonstration in front of the Federal Police headquarters and burning cars and buses. On that occasion, according to the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji), journalistic teams were threatened and harassed while covering the vandalism in protest against the arrest of an indigenous Bolsonarista under investigation for anti-democratic acts.

The negative repercussions of the acts of vandalism in Brasilia did not inhibit the actions of the Bolsonaristas. On January 3, journalists were attacked in at least five places. In Rio Grande do Sul, a councilman attacked an RDC TV cameraman while taking pictures of the cleaning of the roads in front of the Military Command. In Fortaleza, a team of reporters from TV Jangadeiro was harassed by demonstrators. In Espírito Santo, in an encampment in Vila Velha, two groups of professionals from TV Tribuna and the website ES 360 were harassed. In Londrina (PR), a team from TV Tarobá, affiliated with Band, was physically assaulted and expelled from the site. And in Ribeirão Preto (SP), a photographer from the Tribuna Ribeirão newspaper was harassed at a military installation in the city.

A new wave of violence occurred between January 8 and 11. Abraji and other organizations registered 45 cases of physical aggression, threats, confiscation of work material, robberies, and offenses to prevent the events from being recorded and broadcast by the press.

Several aggressions were recorded on the day of the attack on the Palácio do Planalto, the National Congress, and the Federal Supreme Court. A reporter from the newspaper O Tempo was attacked by criminals who pointed two pistols at him inside the Congress. The reporter was protected by a technician from Empresa Brasil de Comunicação (EBC) after the military police, following the demonstrations, refused to help him.

During the same coverage, a group of men knocked down and beat photojournalists from the newspaper Metrópoles. Near the Ministry of Defense, a correspondent of The Washington Post was kicked and thrown to the ground. Her work material was stolen. At the Palácio do Planalto, a Turkish news agency Anadolu reporter was slapped while covering the action of vandals. A reporter from Agence France Press was assaulted and had his equipment and cell phone stolen.

Also, on January 8, a reporter from Agência Brasil suffered injuries to his neck when his badge was ripped off while filming the destruction. A photojournalist from the Poder360° portal was assaulted when they tried to take his work equipment. A reporter from TV Band had his cell phone ripped out of his hands and smashed while recording the event. A reporter from Rádio Jovem Pan was insulted and chased by demonstrators. Also, a photojournalist from Folha de S. Paulo newspaper had his equipment stolen by demonstrators participating in the vandalism. A Reuters reporter had his equipment and cell phone stolen during the same coverage.

On February 21, a group of residents of São Sebastião (SP) physically assaulted a reporter from the newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo who was covering the tragedy on the north coast of São Paulo. One of them forced photojournalist Tiago Queiroz to erase photos he had taken of the streets of the flooded condominium, with damaged cars.

This period also saw cases of harassment and judicial censorship.

The newspaper Folha de S. Paulo and reporter Fabiano Maisonnave, who now works for an international news agency, were condemned by the Mato Grosso Court of Appeal (TJMT) for moral damages, although they transmitted truthful information. Judge Claudio Roberto Zeni Guimarães of the Appeals Chamber of the TJMT considered that the article "41% of logging in Mato Grosso is illegal, according to a study" was intended to defame Mauren Lazzaretti. The plaintiff is a lawyer and former undersecretary of Environmental Licenses and Water Resources of the State Secretariat for the Environment of Mato Grosso (SEMA/MT). The defendants appealed.

On October 5, the ANJ protested against the censorship imposed by Minister Paulo de Tarso Sanseverino, of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), in a report - "Relationship between Lula and Nicaraguan dictator is well documented" - in the newspaper A Gazeta do Povo. As a result, the magistrate ordered the removal of a post on the newspaper's Twitter profile. The post reported that the regime of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega had cut the signal of the CNN news channel in that country and mentioned Lula's support for Ortega.