Globo, Brazil’s leading TV network, interrupted its regular programming early this morning to announce that its reporter, Guilherme Portanova, had been freed after being kidnapped Saturday morning by a prison gang.
Portanova had been abducted with TV technician Alexandre Calado while both were leaving a bakery close to Globo’s headquarters in São Paulo.
Calado was released Saturday night. He brought from his captors, the PCC (First Command of the Capital), a video containing invectives against the inhumane treatment of inmates in Brazilian prisons.
The airing of the tape was the condition established by the kidnappers to release the reporter. Even though Globo broadcasted the three-minute message early Sunday, there was no news about Portanova until earlier today.
After being released around 12:30 am in the Morumbi neighborhood, the kidnapped reporter went to his place of work. His colleagues at Globo said that he seemed OK and that one of his first acts was to talk to his relatives on the phone.
On Sunday, Globo aired a note justifying the broadcasting of the organized crime’s video. The television network told that it had sought advice from the International News Safety Institute and from AKE, a company specialized in risk administration, before presenting the video. According to Globo, both recommended that the demands were met.
In the video, 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.
In its note, Globo said that "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."
And continued: "Considering what is occurring in São Paulo in recent 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."