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News > Brazil

Brazil: Bolsonaro Leads 2019 Record for Attacks on the Press

  • President Jair Bolsonaro at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil Dec. 19, 2019.

    President Jair Bolsonaro at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil Dec. 19, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 January 2020

The far-right former Capitan accounted for three out of five press attacks in 2019.

Brazil’s National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) Thursday presented its "Report on Violence Against Journalists and Press Freedom", highlighting that 208 attacks on media outlets and journalists were reported in 2019, which means an increase of 54 percent over the previous year

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"The main threat to press freedom in Brazil was carried out through 114 cases of 'attempts to discredit' the press," the Fenaj said.

The 2019 report includes this new type of violence because "the Presidency has institutionalized unfounded and widespread criticism to the media and journalists."

The Brazilian federation also reported that the number of cases of physical aggression has decreased; however, 20 journalists were killed in 2019.

According to Fenaj, politicians were the main perpetrators of attacks. About 69 percent of the attacks were related to attempts to discredit the press.

"Bolsonaro's Culture Secretary paraphrases Nazi Joseph Goebbels' speech. His citation, which reverberated on social networks, occurred in a video that announced the National Arts Award."

The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro was the author of 121 attacks in 2019, equivalent to 58 percent of the total number of reported cases in the year.

The latest example of the Brazilian presidency's style occurred on Friday when citizens criticized the Culture Minister Roberto Alvim, who had previously published a video with clear Nazi connotations.

Bolsonaro immediately posted his own video to defend his pupil through a threatening message.

“To that press looking at me: I am above your glasses. Begin to produce truths... I will not take any action to try to censor you but have shame on your faces. Leave our government alone,” Bolsonaro shouted, as reported by local outlet Forum, which commented that his video used Joseph Goebbels' tactics to intimidate.​​​​​​​

"Bolsonaro's rise significantly affected press freedom," Brasil de Fato recalled.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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