More than 12 hours after having broadcasted a video containing a message of the PCC (First Command of the Capital), a prison gang that has been terrorizing Brazil, leading TV network Globo still hadn’t heard about reporter Guilherme Portanova who was kidnapped Saturday morning.
The journalist had been abducted close to the television network’s headquarters in São Paulo. Portanova, 30 , was kidnapped together with Alexandre Coelho Calado, a technical aide who was freed around 10:30 pm on Saturday. Calado brought with him a video taped by the PCC. The airing of the document was a condition imposed by the criminal to free Portanova.
Globo TV aired a note justifying the broadcasting of the organized crime’s video. The television network admitted that it sought advice from the INSI (International News Safety Institute) headquartered in Brussels and from AKE, a company specialized in risk administration. According to Globo, both recommended that the demands were met.
In the video shown on TV, an armed, hooded man reads a statement in which he denounces "inhumane" conditions in Brazilian jails.
"We want a prison system with humane conditions, not a bankrupt, inhumane system in which we are subjected to innumerous humiliations and beatings. The Brazilian penal system is, in reality, a true human dump, where human beings are thrown as if they are animals," the unidentified man said in the three-minute long manifesto.
José Vicente da Silva, a retired military police colonel, criticized Globo for surrendering to the organized crime. "It was too grave for the television station to give in to the bandits. TV is a communication organ that has a state concession. Every time we have a kidnapping there are risks, but there is also space for negotiation," he said.
Da Silva believes that concessions like that only encourage new criminal activities and even bigger demands. He also criticized Brazil’s intelligence system: "The only solution is to make an effort to improve the intelligence structure in the country, creating a system able to collect information on organized crime."
Globo TV aired a note justifying the broadcasting of the organized crime’s video. The television network admitted that it sought advice from the International News Safety Institute and from AKE, a company specialized in risk administration. According to Globo, both recommended that the demands were met.
Here’s the note in its entirety:
"While Globo TV anxiously waits for the release of reporter Guilherme Portanova, kidnapped yesterday, it divulges the following information:
"As soon as Globo TV became aware of the kidnappers demand, Saturday night, it consulted with the International News Safety Institute (INSI), headquartered in Brussels, to which the television station is affiliated since the institute was founded.
"Luiza Rangel, from Caracas, the INSI’s coordinator for Latin America, asserted that in a situation of extreme emergency as the one faced by Globo TV, when the deadlines are scanty and when there are no doubts over the disregard of the criminals towards human life, the correct posture is to yield to the demands, telling the police beforehand the content of what is going to be aired. According to her, similar situations happened recently in India and in the Middle East.
"Guided by Luiza Rangel, the television network also contacted Tim Crocket, chief of the Atlanta office of the AKE Group, a company specialized in risks and safety administration, that works with INSI and has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Pakistan and Iraq.
"Tim Crocket repeated Luiza Rangel’s advice: in the situation we were we didn’t have an alternative. He recommended that we also got in touch with Tom O’Neil, consultant at their Lebanon office, and an expert in this kind of action. O’Neil repeated the same recommendations.
"The initial idea of Globo TV was to take a decision together with the class entities of the sector. But since everything happened Saturday night, it was impossible to wait for the sector to pronounce itself.
"Considering what is occurring in São Paulo in the latest months, there was no doubt on how far the criminals would go: it is enough to say that the dead are already in the hundreds. Since there is no doubt about the real risk incurred by reporter Guilherme Portanova, and without enough time to get a joint decision with its peers, Globo TV showed the police the content of the DVD and decided to air the video in the state of São Paulo.
"At that very moment, however, it also decided to summon the entities of the sector so that the situation can be discussed by everybody in a way that the next steps can be taken together.
"Globo TV hopes that journalist Guilherme Portanova will be immediately freed so he can come back to the company of his family and his work colleagues. It thanks the solidarity that it has been receiving from its viewers and its peers and expresses confidence that the Brazilian nation will know how to find ways to put an end to this condition of public insecurity."