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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press



JANUARY 21, 2005
Posted: February 2, 2005

Lúcio Flávio Pinto, Jornal Pessoal

ATTACKED

Pinto, the publisher and editor of the small bimonthly Jornal Pessoal in the city of Belém, in the northern state of Pará, said he was at a restaurant having lunch with friends on Friday, January 21, when Ronaldo Maiorana, a businessman and politician, approached him from behind, hit him in the neck, and grabbed him by his shirt. Maiorana then put Pinto in a choke hold, pushed him to the floor, kicked him, and threatened to kill him. Maiorana's bodyguards provided cover for their boss during the attack.

Maiorana is the director of the Belém-based daily O Liberal, which is owned by the media group Organizações Romulo Maiorana. The media group also owns the television station TV Liberal, the local affiliate of Rede Globo, Brazil's largest television network, and a radio station. In addition, it offers cable television and high-speed Internet access. Maiorana is also president of the center-right Liberal Party in Pará.

On January 18, Pinto wrote an article in Jornal Pessoal on the Maiorana family and the history of Organizações Romulo Maiorana. The article alleged that the media group ran a quasi-monopoly in Pará and had long used its influence to pressure companies and politicians to give advertising to the media group's outlets.

According to the news agency Agência Folha, which is owned by the São Paulo–based daily Folha de S. Paulo, Maiorana confirmed only having punched Pinto, who, he said, had "ridiculed" his family for more than a decade. Maiorana also vowed to pursue a criminal defamation complaint against Pinto, Agência Folha reported.

Pinto immediately filed a criminal complaint with police, who launched an investigation. Maiorana's bodyguards, who are military police officers, are under investigation by military prosecutors, according to the daily Diário do Pará.

An award-winning journalist, Pinto has faced several criminal defamation lawsuits and received numerous threats in the past for his critical reporting on a variety of subjects, including drug trafficking, environmental devastation, and political and corporate corruption. For several years, he wrote the column "Carta da Amazônia" (Letter from the Amazon) for the São Paulo–based daily O Estado de S. Paulo.


MARCH 15, 2005
Posted: March 22, 2005

Leonel Lacerda, RBS TV
Éverton Machado, RBS TV
ATTACKED, HARASSED

Four unidentified men harassed reporter Lacerda and cameraman Machado while they were covering a farmers' protest against the state government near the town of Sarandi, in southern Rio Grande do Sul state. The men also burned the journalists' vehicle.

More than 2,000 farmers and landless peasants had blocked the BR-386 highway for 24 hours, according to Rádio Gaúcha, which is owned by the multimedia group RBS, the parent company of RBS TV. The farmers and peasants were protesting what they saw as the state government's inadequate response to a drought.

Around 9:30 a.m., as Lacerda and Machado were covering the protest, four masked men broke the RBS TV vehicle's windows and set it on fire. The men took Lacerda's microphone and cell phone, and they grabbed Machado's video camera and threw it inside the burning vehicle. A protest leader escorted the journalists to a police checkpoint about 200 meters away. The journalists were not injured.

Lacerda and Machado filed a complaint with the police. In statements to Rádio Gaúcha, Lacerda said he had good relations with protest leaders and suggested the attackers might not have been farmers but people who infiltrated the protest. He said that some protesters and their leaders complained that RBS TV had failed to cover previous protests, although he disputed that assertion.


MARCH 23, 2005
Posted: April 12, 2005

Maurício Melato Barth, Info-Bairros
ATTACKED, THREATENED

Two unidentified assailants shot Maurício Melato Barth, owner and editor of the bimonthly newspaper Info-Bairros, twice in the legs at the editor's home in the southern city of Itapema at about 8 p.m.

Doctors told Barth he faced up to 15 months of recuperation before he could walk again, the editor said in an interview with CPJ. After leaving the hospital, the editor and his family went into hiding. Info-Bairros stopped publishing, and Barth said he did not know when he would resume working.

Barth told CPJ that the attack came after he published a series of articles denouncing government corruption in Itapema, a city of about 30,000 in the state of Santa Catarina. The editor said that he received anonymous phone threats before the shooting.

Local police in charge of the investigation believe the gunmen's intention was not to kill, but to scare Barth and send him a message, the local press reported. Investigators also said they had not ruled out motives related to the journalist's personal life.

Barth said he believed his newspaper's work prompted the attack. André Gobbo, editor with the Itapema newspaper Jornal Independente, also told CPJ that he believed the attack stemmed from Info-Bairros coverage of local corruption.


APRIL 28, 2005
Posted: June 15, 2005

Jorge Kajuru, SBT
LEGAL ACTION

Brazilian sports commentator Jorge Kajuru was sentenced to 18 months of overnight detention after being convicted on a criminal defamation charge. He remains free while his case is under appeal before the Superior Court of Justice, Brazil's second highest court.

Kajuru, whose real name is Jorge Reis da Costa, was ordered to stay at a prison dormitory in Goiânia, capital of central Goiás state, every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning May 28. He may not leave Goiânia at any time without a judge's approval. The restrictions interfere with Kajuru's ability to work; he is based in São Paulo, where he lives and works for the television network SBT.

The criminal defamation lawsuit against Kajuru stemmed from comments he made in January 2001 on the Goiânia-based Rádio K, which he then owned. Kajuru alleged that television station TV Anhanguera, the affiliate of television network Rede Globo in Goiás, had won the rights to broadcast the Goiás state soccer championship because of its close relationship to the state government.

The media group Organizações Jaime Câmara, which owns TV Anhanguera as well as several newspapers and radio stations, and its president, Jaime Câmara Júnior, filed several criminal complaints against Kajuru claiming their honor and reputation had been damaged.

Judge Alvarino Egídio da Silva Primo, of the 12th Criminal District of Goiânia, found Kajuru guilty of criminal defamation in June 2003. Kajuru's lawyers filed several appeals before the Goiás State Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice—Brazil's second highest court—but his conviction was upheld. In March, the Goiás State Court of Justice ordered that the sentence be carried out. Terms of the sentence were set at an April 28 court hearing.

Kajuru is known as an outspoken commentator whose views have sparked controversy. He faces many other civil and criminal defamation lawsuits stemming from his comments.

Claiming that the sentence and the court ruling against Kajuru violated his right to a defense and to due process, on May 13 his lawyers filed a petition before the Superior Court of Justice, requesting that execution of his sentence be suspended until the court rules on the petition's merits.

On May 19, Magistrate Arnaldo Esteves Lima ordered that Kajuru's sentence be suspended while a five-judge panel of the Superior Court of Justice examines the matter, a process that according to local press reports could take 60 to 90 days.

MAY 4, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Fernando Morais, freelance
LEGAL ACTION, CENSORED

A Brazilian district judge ordered the seizure of all copies of a nonfiction book by journalist and author Fernando Morais.

Judge Jeová Sardinha de Morais, of the 7th Civil District of Goiânia, the capital of the central state of Goiás, granted an injunction that ordered the withdrawal of all copies of Morais's book "Na Toca dos Leões" (In the Lions' Den) from circulation in Brazil, according to local news reports. The injunction was granted on behalf of federal parliamentary deputy Ronaldo Caiado.

Caiado has reportedly filed civil and criminal defamation complaints against Morais and a civil complaint against the Editora Planeta do Brasil publishing house, which has 20 days to withdraw the books from bookstores nationwide.

Editora Planeta do Brasil, which has printed around 50,000 copies of the book, has announced it will contest the injunction, according to local news reports.

Morais' book, which was published in early April, tells the history of the advertising agency W/Brasil and contains interviews with its main business partners. The book quotes one business partner as saying that while running for president in 1989, Caiado told the partner that sterilizing women could solve overpopulation in Brazil's Northeast. Caiado claims he never made that statement.

Judge Sardinha's May 4 decision reinforced his earlier April 13 decision, which ordered the seizure of all copies of the book at the Editora Planeta do Brasil offices in the city of São Paulo. In addition, he banned the author and his publisher from making statements about the book to any media outlet and set a 5,000 reals (approximately US $2,000) fine for any breach of this order.


APRIL 28, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Jorge Kajuru, SBT
LEGAL ACTION

Brazilian sports commentator Jorge Kajuru was sentenced to 18 months of overnight detention after being convicted on a criminal defamation charge.

Kajuru, whose real name is Jorge Reis da Costa, was ordered to stay at a prison dormitory in Goiânia, capital of central Goiás state, every night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning May 28. He may not leave Goiânia at any time without a judge's approval. The restrictions interfere with Kajuru's ability to work; he is based in São Paulo, where he lives and works for the television network SBT.

The criminal defamation lawsuit against Kajuru stemmed from comments he made in January 2001 on the Goiânia-based Rádio K, which he then owned. Kajuru alleged that television station TV Anhanguera, the affiliate of television network Rede Globo in Goiás, had won the rights to broadcast the Goiás state soccer championship because of its close relationship to the state government.

The media group Organizações Jaime Câmara, which owns TV Anhanguera as well as several newspapers and radio stations, and its president, Jaime Câmara Júnior, filed several criminal complaints against Kajuru claiming their honor and reputation had been damaged.

Judge Alvarino Egídio da Silva Primo, of the 12th Criminal District of Goiânia, found Kajuru guilty of criminal defamation in June 2003. Kajuru's lawyers filed several appeals before the Goiás State Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice—Brazil's second highest court—but his conviction was upheld. In March, the Goiás State Court of Justice ordered that the sentence be carried out. Terms of the sentence were set at an April 28 court hearing.

Kajuru is known as an outspoken commentator whose views have sparked controversy. He faces many other civil and criminal defamation lawsuits stemming from his comments.


MAY 15, 2005
Posted: June 9, 2004

Rede Amazônica de Televisão
CENSORED

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.


MAY 4, 2005
Posted: June 9, 2005

André Lima, Diário do Nordeste

ATTACKED

Military police officers attacked Lima, a photographer for the daily newspaper, while he was covering a demonstration in Fortaleza, the capital of northeastern Ceará state. The protesters opposed efforts by a public utility to install a high-voltage power line inside a poor neighborhood. Lima told CPJ that police officers beat some of the protesters, including women and children. He said that police punched him in the face and broke his camera.

Lima said he didn't file a police complaint because he feared retaliation, and he noted a "climate of impunity" in Fortaleza. The journalists trade union advised him to file a lawsuit, Lima said, but he decided against it.


JUNE 3, 2005
Posted: June 24, 2005

José Carlos Forner, CaTV
Robson Xavier, CaTV
ATTACKED

Forner and Xavier, who work for television station CaTV, were attacked by police officers at the end of an indoor soccer game in the city of São Miguel do Iguaçu, in southern Paraná state.

The journalists were covering a soccer match featuring teams from São Miguel do Iguaçu and Cascavel, another city in Paraná. After players from the losing team complained about the officiating at the end of the game, police started beating them, according to Jorge Guirado, a director and sports commentator with CaTV, the affiliate of television network TV Educativa do Paraná in Cascavel that broadcast the game live. When Forner, a sportscaster, tried to interview the team’s coach and players, a police officer hit him in the abdomen with a truncheon, Guirado said.

As a CaTV news crew followed the team to the locker room, police threatened both journalists and players with police dogs. When Xavier, a cameraman, raised his leg to avoid the dogs, a police officer fired a rubber bullet at his knee. Xavier was treated at a hospital and needed five days to recover and get back to work.

Guirado, who covered the game as a commentator, told CPJ that he showed the tape to police commander Avelino Novakolsky. He said that a police inquiry was opened into the incident and Xavier is awaiting its results before deciding whether to file a civil lawsuit against the police.


JUNE 16, 2005
Posted: July 12, 2005

Efrém Ribeiro, Jornal Meio Norte
ATTACKED, THREATENED

Ribeiro, a reporter with the daily Jornal Meio Norte, based in the city of Teresina, in the northern state of Piauí, said he was attacked and threatened by a local politician.

As Ribeiro was in the hall of the Piauí State Legislative Assembly asking a state legislator about the possibility that the Assembly’s Council of Ethics would conduct an investigation of state legislator Homero Castelo Branco, he said, Castelo Branco grabbed him by the neck and said: “I’ll make you disappear.” When Ribeiro asked if he was being threatened with death, Castelo Branco said: “Yes, I’m threatening you with death.” The legislator also took the reporter’s cell phone, Ribeiro said.

In a June 15 report, Ribeiro broke the news that federal prosecutor Carlos Eduardo de Oliveira Vasconcelos had charged Castelo Branco with fraud, forgery of public documents, and tax violations before the Regional Federal Court (TRF) in Brasília, the capital.

Ribeiro said he chose not to file a report with the police or file a lawsuit against Castelo Branco. He said that the problem was temporary and that he preferred avoiding a fight and maintaining a potential source. Jornal Meio Norte published a report of the incident.



JUNE 21, 2005
Posted: July 22, 2005

Gilmário Batista, TV Globo
Lúcio Sturm, TV Globo
Marçal Araújo, TV Globo

ATTACKED

Three men attacked a news crew from television station TV Globo.

The news crew was working on a news report in front of the headquarters of the ruling Workers Party (PT) in the city of São Paulo, in the state of São Paulo. Around 10 p.m., as the they were getting ready to start filming, the attackers arrived, chanting insults against TV Globo, punching and kicking the journalists, and stoning the station's vehicle, according to Batista, a cameraman. Sturm, a reporter, had the ligaments in one hand torn, and suffered other minor injuries. Batista also suffered minor injuries, but his assistant, Araújo, was hit with the camera's tripod and suffered a fracture in his jaw. Araújo was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery to have a titanium plate inserted in his face. He recovered and returned to work.

Batista was able to film the incident and later handed in the recording to the police. On June 28, Batista told CPJ, he and Sturm gave their statements to the police. According to local news reports, the attackers have been identified as campaign workers hired by the Socialist Party of United Workers (PSTU) to help with the elections of the banking employees union, whose headquarters are located near the scene of the attack.


JULY 28, 2005
Posted August 30, 2005

Ancelmo Gois, O Globo
LEGAL ACTION

Gois, a well-known columnist with the Rio de Janeiro daily O Globo, faced prosecution after his column revealed a dispute between two local judges.

In a February 27, 2004 column titled "Clash of Titans," Gois wrote that Judge Francisco José de Asevedo had lost a civil lawsuit and been sentenced to pay damages of 170,000 reals (US$74,000) to Judge Tereza Cristina Sobral Bittencourt. Sobral had filed the suit, Gois said, after Asevedo accused her of corruption and issued a warrant for her arrest.

Judge Asevedo complained about Gois's column to the Rio de Janeiro Attorney General's Office, which in March 2004 opened and investigation, named Gois and the unidentified source for his column as co-defendants, and charged them with violating the secrecy of legal proceedings, according to local press reports. Prosecutors also asked Gois to disclose his source but he refused. If convicted, Gois could have faced between two and six years in prison.

According to local press reports, although a civil court initially ordered that the legal proceedings involving judges Asevedo and Sobral be conducted in secrecy, a higher court had revoked the order, thus allowing the court ruling against Asevedo to be published in the Rio de Janeiro State Court of Justice's official journal and in its Web site.

On July 28, 2005, after Gois filed an injunction before a three-judge panel of the Rio de Janeiro State Court of Justice, the panel ordered the suspension of the criminal proceedings against him until it could gather more information.

On August 11, the three-judge panel voted 2 to 1 to dismiss the case against Gois, ruling that his actions did not constitute a crime. The panel's ruling also recognized the journalist's right to maintain the confidentiality of his sources.

AUGUST 10, 2005
Posted September 8, 2005

Wladimir de Souza, Diário de S.Paulo
ATTACKED

Souza, a photojournalist who works for the São Paulo-based daily Diário de S.Paulo, was attacked by a police officer.

Souza was covering the detention of an alleged drug dealer by the police's Narcotics Investigation Department (DENARC), when he was attacked by a police officer named Antonio Honório, who was questioning the suspect. According to Souza, Honório, thinking he had been photographed, went toward him yelling he was a police officer, and broke his camera's flash.

The police officer's superiors came to see what was happening, offered to compensate Souza for his equipment, and asked him to forget the incident. Souza received a new flash and his lawyer filed a complaint with the Civil Police Auditor. As of late August, he had not heard from the Civil Police Auditor.


SEPTEMBER 11, 2005
October 17, 2005

Diário de Marília
Diário FM
Dirceu AM
ATTACKED

Arsonists attacked the offices of daily Diário de Marília and sister radio stations Diário FM and Dirceu AM in the city of Marilia, in the state of São Paulo.

José Ursílio, Diário de Marília's editor in chief, declined to speculate who could be behind the attack on the three outlets which are all owned by the Central Marília Notícias group.

A security camera caught four men—three with masks—and one woman, who overpowered a security guard. The men poured several gallons of gasoline on the second and third floors of the offices, completely destroying the radio stations' studios and the newspaper's production area. Diário de Marília still managed to publish although with half its normal print run, Ursílio said. The radio stations hoped to be back on air within 18 hours.