Brazil’s 7 Months of Jail for Fictional Blog Is Insanity, Says RSF

José Cristian GóesReporters Without Borders (RSF) says that it “has learned with incredulity and dismay” that the Brazilian journalist José Cristian Góes was sentenced to seven months and 16 days in prison on July 4 due to a short piece of fiction mocking local political corruption that he posted on his blog, Infonet, in May 2012.

Entitled “Me, the colonel inside me,” the story criticized the clientelist methods used by people in positions of power and influence, known as “colonels” in Brazil. The story was told in the first person by an imaginary colonel, without any names, dates or public positions being identified.

It nonetheless prompted Edson Ulisses, a high court judge in Aracaju, in the northeastern state of Sergipe, to bring civil and criminal proceedings, claiming that story defamed both him and his brother-in-law, Sergipe governor Marcelo Dedá of the Workers Party (PT), who did not file any lawsuit.

“This case speaks volumes about the political practices that Góes criticized in his story,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is true that this prison sentence has been widely reported and the court that issued it was a low-level one. But it is a judicial insanity that insults the basic principles of the 1988 democratic constitution.

“This precedent must be overturned on appeal because no judicial system can be allowed to trample on fundamental freedoms just to satisfy political interests and indulge those in positions of power.”

Ever since the 2009 repeal of a 1967 media law inherited from the military dictatorship, judges – especially local ones – have shown a growing readiness to use so-called “preventive” censorship against media and individual journalists, in particular, in order to protect the politicians on whom they depend.

Blogs and websites have increasingly been the targets of such censorship of late.

In this regard, Reporters Without Borders welcomes TV Bandeirantes journalist and blogger Fábio Pannunzio’s recent legal victory. In response to a lawsuit by São Paulo public security chief Antônio Ferreira Pinto, a judge initially ordered Pannunzio’s to close his blog without considering the substance of Ferreira’s suit.

But after examining the suit, a São Paulo court recently rescinded the order and rejected Ferreira’s request for damages.

“The many cases of censorship affecting freedom of information in Brazil rarely have such a fortunate outcome,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This freedom needs to be shored up on all sides. The ‘Brazil Spring’ protests highlighted both glaring security problems for journalists and a grave lack of media pluralism, which many members of the public criticized.

“These challenges must be addressed. The same goes for the challenge of impunity because, with four journalists killed so far this year, Brazil is now South America’s deadliest country for media personnel.”

Tags:

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil’s Sergio Mendes: 40 Years of Bossa

Piano man Sergio Mendes was a young man barely in his 20s when the ...

Brazil’s Dedini, a World Reference on Ethanol Technology

While pumps in gas stations worldwide churn out gasoline containing increasingly higher doses of ...

For Northeastern Brazilians Without Farofa There’s No Real Meal

I have written a lot about traditional Brazilian dishes like moqueca, feijoada or churrasco ...

Brazil Can’t Explain a Four-fold Increase in Deforestation in the Amazon

Brazil’s Environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, says that the recent surge in rainforest deforestation in ...

Brazil & Neighbors Welcome Cuba and Brag About Independence from US

Leaders from Latin America received in Brazil by Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da ...

Brazil: Sí£o Paulo and Rio Have Become Quite Expensive to Live In

Thanks to a strong appreciation of the Brazilian Real against the US dollar, São ...

Brazil’s Port of Santos Adopts Verint’s Security

US-based Verint Systems Inc. a leading provider of analytic software-based solutions for communications interception, ...

Proposal to Ban Guns in Brazil Fails to Win a Single State

Weapons sales will not be banned in Brazil. On the basis of the returns ...

Brazil/China: 58% More Imports and 23% Less Exports

Imports of Chinese products into Brazil rose 58% in May, in comparison with April. ...

Doha Trade Negotiations Collapse. Brazil and US Blame Each Other

Disappointed with the World Trade Organization talks collapse over farm subsidies by the US ...