Court bans coverage of proceedings involving judge

New York, June 11, 2002—A Brazilian judge has granted an injunction banning the country’s media from publishing any information regarding proceedings against another judge. This is the second case of prior censorship in Brazil within two weeks.

On May 23, Judge Zélia Maria Antunes Alves, of the São Paulo State Court of Justice, granted an injunction requested by Judge Renato Mehana Khamis, of the Regional Labor Tribunal of the State of São Paulo, who faces administrative-disciplinary proceedings for alleged sexual harassment. The injunction banned the Brazilian media from circulating any information related to the proceedings.

According to Brazilian news reports, a lower-court judge in the city of São Paulo had earlier denied the injunction.

In a separate censorship case, in mid-May a judge issued two injunctions against CartaCapital, a São Paulo­based weekly magazine, forcing the magazine to withdraw a story based on interviews with Guilherme Freire, a former supporter of presidential candidate Anthony Garotinho. [See CPJ’s Brazil alert, May 24]

On May 22, a higher court partially lifted the injunctions, allowing the magazine to publish the story but upholding a prohibition on disclosing the contents of conversations between Garotinho and Freire.

“This pattern of prior censorship is disturbing,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, “especially in Brazil, which has nurtured and sustained a free and lively press.”