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Brazilian Newspaper Fined US$ 17,000 for Letter “Damaging Honor” of Judge

Front page of the Pioneiro newspaper In Southern Brazil, this past December 5, the State of Rio Grande do Sul's Court of Justice, in the city of Caxias do Sul, ratified a sentence against the "Pioneiro" newspaper and businessman Airton Zanandrea.

Zanandrea and the publication were charged for having "damaged the honor" of Judge Sérgio Fusquine Gonçalves by publishing, in November 2007, a letter in which Zanandrea criticized the judge.

The newspaper and Zanandrea, were sentenced on September 26 and together will have to pay indemnities of 40,000 Brazilian reais (approximately US$ 17,000). The fine was reduced from the initial 50,000 established by the lower court.

Zanandrea criticized the judge in his letter, after the newspaper published a report about the excessive number of prisoners in the local jail and alleged that the judge arbitrarily granted parole to a man accused of theft.

He also criticized the criminals, the judge and the state for not solving the problems in the prisons.

The businessman wrote: "I don't know who is more irresponsible, the thief who stole, the judge who let him go free or the government that can't solve the problem of overcrowding. They seem to be flour of the same bag (meaning, they are all the same).

Zanandrea said that he sent the letter to the newspaper's editor, but did not authorize the paper to publish it.

The newspaper will have to pay 62.5% of the indemnities and the businessman will pay the difference.


  • Show Comments (3)

  • ch.c.

    What an incredibly ridiculous and dangerous precedent.
    Sorry But it is NOT a precedent. It already happened many many many many times ! Just think about what your neighbour said.
    A precedent is when it is something new….which did not happened earlier. That is not the case ! It is a normal way of life…IN BRAZIL…..TO REFUTE REALITY AND TRUTH !


    ROBBING HOOK and his gang are free to have harsh statements and critics against the developed nations….but not the other way around…of course….in their views !
    There should be more trade….but their way of course…..despite Brazil already has a large trade surplus with the developed nations. Imports are TOLERATED ONLY if there is also a transfer of technology….because otherwise as it is well known Brazil has
    Nooooooo technology and have no interests to invest in such “stupid” things that needs very high R&D INVESTMENTS FOR MANY YEARS before it becomes profitable !

    There should be more trade as they say….but intend to increase their imports tariffs very shortly on many goods…TO PROTECT THEIR INDUSTRIES !!!!! Even on Chinese textiles, despite their Chinese textiles imports are barely at ONE PERCENT…of the Brazilian Textile Industry ! THAT IS….TOO MUCH….IN THEIR VIEW !!!!

    Welll…welll…..that is only a small part of Brazil Economic Model !
    A guaranteed model…for failure…just as in the past !

    LOSERS WILL REMAIN LOSERS…UNTIL THEY CHANGE THEIR WAY OF THINKING ! For Brazil….nothing in the horizon…for sure !

  • gringo

    Dangerous presedent
    What an incredibly ridiculous and dangerous precedent.

    For starters: À¢€œdamaging the honour of a judgeÀ¢€Â? A local Brazilian judge? They have honour? Since when? I thought most of these family/friend appointed country bumpkins preside and rule depending on the quality of morning blowjob given by their faxineira. Honour? Who knew? 😉

    Seriously though, apart from the sheer ridiculousness of this knee-jerk Banana Republic-esque charge and verdict (remember, only Third World NationÀ¢€™s have things like this. ItÀ¢€™s akin to TurkeyÀ¢€™s Article 301), this sends out a not so subtle message to all local papers and citizens with — and remember the salient word here — OPINIONS to express. That message is: fuck you and shut up or else.

    If the big papers and Rights groups donÀ¢€™t get behind the “Pioneiro” and fight this at the Federal level (where there is at least some semblance of rationality), then one more plank has been removed from this NationÀ¢€™s democratic scaffolding and it wonÀ¢€™t be too long until we hear about bloggers being dragged to the courts for offending, on-line, thin-skinned momaÀ¢€™s boys in high places. Honour? Give me a break.

    That said, hereÀ¢€™s my Brazilian neighbourÀ¢€™s logic and response to this: À¢€œWeÀ¢€™ve come a long way and Mr. Zanandrea should be lucky itÀ¢€™s just a fine and not a bullet in his headÀ¢€Â.

  • bo

    Freedom of Speech?
    Really have to be careful with what you say around here, don’t ya?

    And what was that thing about the “worse horrors of nazi, germany”!!


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