Paris-based international censorship opposer and press freedom defender organization Reporters Without Frontier (RSF) has called a recent resolution by Brazil's ruling party PT (Workers Party) against the Brazilian press "ominous" and "unworthy of a democraticÂ party."
The PT's recommendation came after fresh criticism against the Lula administration in the press following the Airbus crash, Brazil's deadliest air accident ever, which left 199 people dead.
Robert Ménard, the RSF's secretary-general has sent a letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and to Ricardo Berzoini, the Workers Party president protesting the party's offensive. Here's the document in its entirety:
Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the consequences of a resolution passed by the Workers Party (PT) national executive on July 31, 2007, encouraging party officials and supporters to oppose "the major offensive by the right and their media allies against the party and government".
Gleber Naine, the party's communication chief, mentionedÂ TV Globo and daily newspapers Correio Braziliense, O Estado de S.Â Paulo, O Globo and Folha de S. Paulo as "playing the opposition's gameÂ as never before."
The resolution seems to us ill-conceived and untimely. TheÂ privately-owned media criticized President Lula and his government when he came toÂ power but relations have since improved. The media outlets mentioned haveÂ also criticized opposition politicians for corruption, abuse of power andÂ fraud.
Just before the October 2006 general elections, reports of PT members trying to buy forged documents to smear opposition candidates led to reprisals against the media by party activists. Other parties have also been involved in abusing and physically attacking the media.Â Partisanship cannot be an excuse for such behavior.
The PT executive's resolution follows wide media coverage of protestsÂ after the July 17 plane crash at São Paulo's Congonhas airport and of theÂ crowd's jeering of President Lula when he opened the Pan American Games in RioÂ de Janeiro a few days before the crash.
Is this the same as systematic criticism of the authorities? Should the media have not reported these events? Can it be blamed for the public discontent and anger caused byÂ the crash?
Reporters Without Borders appeals for calm and hopes your wisdom will prevail. The party resolution is ominous, unworthy of a democraticÂ party and can only make things worse. It should be dropped.