Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro opened the general debate at the 74th United Nations General Assembly on September 23 with an aggressive, messy tirade against the many ‘threats’ to the country: communism, NGOs, and of course, the international media.
The fires raging in the Amazon have occupied much of the world’s attention in recent weeks, but it is not the only battle occupying the Bolsonaro administration, which appears to view human rights as an inconvenient burden, instead of fundamental guarantees that must be protected.
Many groups defending these rights -- environmentalists, black activists, feminists, the LGBTQ community -- have been targeted by Brazil’s outspoken president and his followers, and the press is no exception.
In his first year in office, Brazil’s right-wing president has gleefully adopted the “fake news” rhetoric favored by many of the world’s authoritarian leaders. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), along with partner organizations in Brazil, has been documenting President Bolsonaro’s onslaught against the press, as he has bullied and blocked individual reporters on Twitter, threatened to withdraw state advertising money from media, lashed out at outlets that report critically on his government and accused the country’s largest-circulation daily newspaper of “lying shamelessly.”
After The Intercept Brasil earlier this year broke a blockbuster story on allegations of improper behavior and potential illegal actions by some of the investigators behind the country’s biggest corruption scandal, including the current Justice Minister, rumors swirled that police planned to open an investigation into the outlet to identify its sources, and Bolsonaro suggested that co-founder and editor Glenn Greenwald could “do jail time.”
The president, his sons -- including a member of Congress and a city council member -- and close allies continue to attack journalists, in public statements and on Twitter, on a near-daily basis. Meanwhile, supporters have shared journalists’ personal information including home addresses and urged others to “pay them a visit,” and uncooperative officials and efforts to roll back freedom of information laws have made it much harder for journalists to access basic information.
CommentsWe encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.