The country returned to the situation it was in before the government of former president Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) after a period of intensified violence against journalists and media, with its climax on January 8, 2023, when thousands of radicals invaded and vandalized the headquarters of the three branches of government in Brasília.
However, discrediting and intimidation practices persist through social networks and other platforms against professionals, particularly against women journalists.
On October 4, the personal account of journalist Andreza Matais, director of the O Estado de São Paulo bureau in Brasília, was attacked through the government website gov.br, which offers services for citizens and users' data, including income tax returns. Her account was hacked, and she was threatened with the publication of her data after news produced by the office about the federal government resulted in a series of attacks against her and the newspaper. The hacker offensive occurred after O Estado de São Paulo published a report showing how President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) worked to secure a loan and interfere in Argentina's elections, according to columnist Vera Rosa. Matais became a target of the attacks after sharing the information on the social network X.
Several cases of physical aggression continue to reveal a lack of preparation and authoritarianism on the part of governments, police, and public figures.
On May 30, several journalists covering the meeting of South American leaders in Brasilia were assaulted by military personnel from the Army Battalion and searched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a press conference with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. When the journalists tried to approach Maduro to ask questions, the military reacted violently. Journalist Delis Ortiz of TV Globo was punched in the chest. Journalist Sergio Roxo, from O Globo, was dragged and immobilized; journalists Sofia Aguiar (Agência Estado) and Nathália Pase (BandNews) were pushed, as was a Venezuelan journalist.
On April 3, Vitor de Paula, a journalist with Portal Cic7 Notícias, was assaulted by Marcos André Costa, public safety coordinator of the Araruama City Hall in Rio de Janeiro, for reporting on delays faced by several patients. The journalist was attacked, and the policeman smashed his filming equipment.
An officer of the São Paulo Military Police pointed a rifle and intimidated journalist Danielle Zampollo of Profissão Repórter, TV Globo, according to the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji). The program, aired on August 15, had as its theme police aggressions in Brazil, such as Operation Escudo, carried out at the end of July in São Paulo, which resulted in the death of 20 people, according to the authorities, all killed by the police while "resisting arrest."
On June 2, Sandro Almeida de Araújo, journalist and director of the Nova Andradina (MS) news portal, was chased and assaulted by four police officers in southern Mato Grosso city. The chase began in the middle of the street and ended when he reached his house and was immobilized by the aggressors. The police officers searched the journalist's car and demanded that he reveal his sources. Araújo is known for his journalistic coverage of public safety deficiencies.
In August, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ruled that the media may be liable for defamation, slander, or libel pronounced by an interviewee. The decision refers to the ruling in the Extraordinary Appeal of the complaint filed by former federal deputy Ricardo Zarattini against Diário de Pernambuco. Despite condemning the newspaper, the Supreme Court could not establish a thesis to be applied to other cases due to the lack of unanimity of the ministers. A new trial is expected. For the National Newspaper Association (ANJ), which filed an amicus curiae brief on the case, the decision affects press freedom. It could lead to increased self-censorship and a more significant restriction on disseminating public interest content. According to ANJ, the verdict represents a setback that sets a dangerous precedent for punishing the messenger for third-party statements.
The ANJ is also following the trial for Constitutional Complaint 23.899, filed by the newspaper Gazeta do Povo, from Paraná, and journalists who were victims of judicial harassment. After publishing articles on the remuneration of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers in the State of Paraná, the media and its professionals were subject to dozens of lawsuits filed by judges and prosecutors, making it impossible to defend themselves.
Two direct actions of unconstitutionality are also beginning to be tried virtually in the STF: ADI 7055, filed by Abraji, and ADI 6792, proposed by the Brazilian Press Association (ABI). The ADIs seek to have the Supreme Court interpret, following the Federal Constitution, the provisions of the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, and the Special Courts Law to reduce the damage caused by judicial harassment against the press.