CPJ signs joint statement expressing concern over police operation against journalists in Brazil

CPJ joined eight Brazilian press freedom and advocacy organizations in a joint statement expressing extreme concern about a police investigation called “Operation Fake News,” launched on February 6, 2024, when police seized the computers and phones of Enock Cavalcante and Alexandre Aprá, journalists with the news website Isso É Notícias.

The investigation was the result of a complaint filed by the Mato Grosso state governor, Mauro Mendes, in connection to two articles about a local judge’s alleged illicit conversations with miners under investigation for the use of illegal mercury.

The statement said, “It is incompatible with the Brazilian constitutional protection of the right to freedom of the press for a criminal instrument to be used against journalists, especially in the case of representation for an offense against honor.”

Read the full statement here.

Update: On April 11, the Brazilian Supreme Court overturned a Mato Grosso state court ruling that authorized the seizure of journalists Enock Cavalcante’s and Alexandre Aprá’s cell phones and computers while the criminal investigation of the two journalists continues. “CPJ welcomes Judge Cármen Lúcia’s decision, which respects the Brazilian constitution and guarantees the confidentiality of sources,” said Cristina Zahar, CPJ’s Latin America program coordinator, in São Paulo. “Confiscating journalists’ cell phones or laptops has the sole purpose of silencing and censoring them.”