The headquarters of television network Rede Globo is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 3, 2018. A knife-wielding man recently broke into the office and briefly held a reporter hostage. (Reuters/Pilar Olivares)

Knife-wielding man briefly holds TV Globo reporter hostage in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, June 11, 2020 — Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate the recent attack on TV Globo and take measures to ensure journalists’ safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Yesterday afternoon, an unidentified man broke into the Rio de Janeiro headquarters of TV Globo, Brazil’s biggest privately owned news and entertainment broadcaster, and briefly took reporter Marina Araújo hostage, according to news reports and a statement emailed to CPJ by the Rio de Janeiro military police.

According to a statement by the company, the man demanded to speak to Renata Vasconcellos, who hosts the “Jornal Nacional” news program. TV Globo’s private security guards then called the military police, who negotiated Araújo’s release soon thereafter, according to that statement.

The military police statement said the officers arrested the man and passed him to the civil police for processing.

The Rio de Janeiro civil police press office told CPJ in an email that the man, whose name was not released, was arrested for the crime of “false imprisonment.” If charged and convicted, he could face up to three years in prison under Article 148 of the Brazilian Penal Code.

“Yesterday’s attack on TV Globo is a stark reminder of the elevated risks faced by the press in Brazil, especially female journalists,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “We are relieved that no one was injured during the attack, but Brazilian authorities must take proactive measures to ensure that journalists can work safely and without fear of attack.”

TV Globo has also been the target of criticism from elected officials, including Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella, who barred its reporters from press conferences in December 2019, and President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly insulted the outlet and threatened to revoke its broadcasting license, as CPJ has documented.

In April, two TV Globo reporters were interrupted while broadcasting live from the streets by people who shouted criticism of the broadcaster, with one woman shouting, “Globo is garbage, Bolsonaro is right,” according to news reports.

In May, William Bonner, who hosts the daily evening news program alongside Renata Vasconcellos, faced an intimidation campaign by unidentified individuals, who allegedly used his personal information and that of his family members to commit fraud, according to a statement by the broadcaster