Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here


December 8, 2009

Journalist in Brazil freed after being illegally imprisoned for defamation

A court in the Amazonian state of Acre released Antônio Muniz, a local TV commentator and columnist for the daily newspaper O Rio Branco , on December 4, two days after he was jailed in connection with a 2002 conviction on a charge of defaming a senator. “The court’s decision was necessary because press offences have been decriminalised,” Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) said. “We are shocked that the court nonetheless forced Muniz to appear in handcuffs at a closed-door hearing,... MORE
September 30, 2009

US reporter faces 'insult' suit in Brazil air crash aftermath

US freelance journalist Joe Sharkey, who covered a 2006 plane crash in Brazil in which he was a passenger, is facing an onerous civil defamation suit for comments he said were wrongly attributed to him. On the third anniversary of the accident, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Brazilian judicial authorities to dismiss the case, which is based on the tenuous claim that the comments insulted the nation of Brazil. Sharkey, a freelance reporter who contributes regularly to the New... MORE
August 20, 2009

Former Brazilian police officers sentenced for abducting and torturing O Dia journalists

Former police officers Odin Fernandes da Silva and Davi Liberato de Araújo were convicted for being part of the militia that abducted and tortured a team of journalists from O Dia newspaper in the Batan Favela area, Rio de Janeiro, in May 2008. Judge Alexandre Abrahão sentenced both individuals to 31 years in prison on August 12, according to Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo de Investigação (ABRAJI). In pronouncing the sentence, the judge said that the suspects "constrained" the victims with... MORE
July 15, 2009

Brazilian journalist fined on charges of defamation against powerful media group

A judge in the northern state of Pará ordered prominent Brazilian journalist Lúcio Flávio Pinto on Monday to pay US$15,000 in damages in a civil libel suit. The decision is part of a systematic pattern of legal harassment against Pinto, who faces more than 10 lawsuits from powerful plaintiffs, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said. Judge Raimundo das Chagas Filho in the Amazonian city of Belém ordered Pinto to pay brothers Ronaldo and Romulo Maiorana Jr, owners of the Belém-based... MORE
July 3, 2009

Newspaper in Brazil to close down after ordered to pay US$306,000 in defamation lawsuit

The Debate newspaper, based in the town of Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, in São Paulo state, was ordered to pay R$593,000 (approx. US$306,000) as a result of a lawsuit for defamation filed against it in 1995 by Judge Antônio José Magdalena. According to a delayed report by the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, the order was passed on June 25. According to the newspaper's owner, Sérgio Fleury Moraes, the ruling means that the paper, which has been in business for 32 years, will have to close down. The... MORE
May 29, 2009

Intermediary between gunmen and masterminds in Brazilian journalist's murder convicted

The intermediary in the June 2003 murder of Brazilian journalist Nicanor Linhares has been convicted, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has reported. Judge Francisco Mario Liberato sentenced Cássio Santana de Sousa to 23 years in prison on Wednesday for his participation in Linhares' killing in the northern city of Fortaleza, according to local news reports. Santana was convicted of acting as an intermediary between the gunmen and the masterminds. "We welcome this... MORE
May 8, 2009

In victory for press in Brazil, high court strikes down repressive law

The Brazilian Supreme Federal Tribunal's decision to strike down the 1967 Press Law, a measure that imposed harsh penalties for libel and slander, is a crucial step forward in the campaign to eliminate criminal defamation laws in the Americas, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said. CPJ and other groups had long urged that the anachronistic law be removed from the books. Brazil's highest court, in a 7-4 vote dated April 30, ruled that the 1967 law violated constitutional guarantees of... MORE
March 3, 2009

Supreme Court in Brazil grants extension for suspension of 1967 press law

Brazil's Federal Supreme Court (STF) has made a "preliminary" decision to extend a suspension of 22 clauses—including 20 articles—of the draconian February 9, 1967 press law. The clauses at issue that allow prison sentences for offences of "defamation", "denigration" and "insult", were suspended for the first time for a period of six months, by the country's highest jurisdiction on February 27, 2008, because of their incompatibility with the principles of the 1988 democratic constitution. On... MORE
February 9, 2009

Federal judge closes investigation into Brazilian journalist Vladimir Herzog's murder in 1975

A Brazilian judge has issued an order calling for the closure of the investigation into the death of journalist Vladimir Herzog. Herzog died while Brazil was under military rule (1964-1984). Federal Justice Paula Mantovani Avelino's decision rejects requests by state prosecutors who have argued that Herzog's murder could be considered a crime against humanity, the Associação Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (ABRAJI) has reported. In a federal court official notice, Justice Avelino argued... MORE
January 15, 2009

Court rescinds semi-release for Brazilian journalist's convicted killer

A Rio de Janeiro court that oversees sentence implementation has reversed a decision to put Cláudio Orlando "Ratinho" de Nascimento, one of the convicted killers of Rede Globo television reporter Tim Lopes, on a semi-release regime that let him out of prison by day to visit relatives and friends, Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has reported. The prison administration granted "Ratinho" semi-release in December 2008 as he had fulfilled the legal requirement by completing a sixth of his sentence... MORE