MAY 15, 2005
Posted: June 9, 2004
Rede Amazônica de Televisão
A judge banned TV station Rede Amazônica de Televisão, the affiliate of television network Rede Globo in central-west Rondônia state, from broadcasting a report on corruption involving state legislators and the governor.
Around 7:50 p.m., just minutes before Rede Globo’s news show Fantástico (Fantastic) was to air a report on alleged corruption among state legislators, justice officials arrived at Rede Amazônica de Televisão’s studios and served an injunction prohibiting the broadcast nationwide.
Rede Amazônica de Televisão was then forced to cancel the story and instead broadcast a message on a blank screen saying the Rondônia State Court of Justice had ordered the report’s cancellation. In Rondônia, only those with a satellite dish were able to see the report. Claiming it did not receive a copy of the injunction in time, Rede Globo broadcast the report in its entirety through its other affiliates in Brazil.
The report was based on several videotapes made by Rondônia governor Ivo Cassol, who faces impeachment on charges of conspiracy to commit crimes and fraud in connection with the awarding of public contracts. The tapes, reportedly shot in Cassol’s house in late 2003, allegedly show state legislators asking for money in return for dropping their support for his impeachment.
Earlier in the day, 19 of the 24 state legislators, saying that the tapes could be a fabrication that could injure their reputation, requested an injunction. Around 7:45 p.m. that evening, Judge Gabriel Marques ordered that broadcasting of the tapes be banned. In a short, hand-written decision, he said that airing the tapes without giving the legislators a chance to defend themselves would cause damage to their privacy, honor, and reputation, and would cause damage to Rondônia and its people. He set a daily fine of 200,000 Brazilian reals (US$87,000) for failure to comply with his order.
Later that evening, scores of Cassol’s supporters, angered with Judge Marques’s decision, took to the streets of Porto Velho, the state capital, and tried to break into the offices of the state legislative branch.
On May 16, claiming that Rede Globo had already aired the content of the tapes throughout Brazil, the state legislators behind the injunction asked Judge Marques to revoke it. On May 17, Rede Amazônica de Televisão was able to broadcast the full report in Rondônia.