Brazilian prosecutors appeal judge’s order, refuse to drop criminal charges against journalist Glenn Greenwald

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photo by Martin Dee, Allard Prize, used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In a troubling development for press freedom, Brazilian authorities have appealed a federal judge’s ruling that rejected criminal charges against Intercept Brasil founding editor Glenn Greenwald. The charges stem from that outlet’s investigative series documenting corruption involving high ranking prosecutors and Sergio Moro, the Justice Minister in President Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing administration.

Since the Intercept Brazil started publishing its investigation last year, Greenwald, his family, and his colleagues have been met with a campaign of harassment and intimidation, culminating in January’s baseless and retaliatory charges. The attempt to prosecute Greenwald for his reporting has been roundly condemned by dozens of press freedom organizations in the world.

A federal judge blocked the charges last month, citing a sweeping opinion by a Brazilian Supreme Court judge that barred federal prosecutors from further investigation into Greenwald for his journalism. Despite the clarity of that order, and the subsequent judicial finding that it applies in this case, prosecutors nevertheless appear to be attempting to push forward with the politically motivated charges.

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Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm released this statement:

When Brazil’s prosecutors first brought these charges, they were universally denounced for what they were: a baseless attempt to intimidate journalists engaged in a powerful and substantive corruption investigation. With this appeal, Brazil’s Public Ministry has doubled down in its shameful attempt to criminalize journalism.

Glenn Greenwald has fought for journalistic freedom throughout his entire career, including as a founding member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. We have no doubt he will continue to fight these charges with his characteristic integrity and dedication. Meanwhile, the damage caused by this continued official disregard for basic functions of the press is profound, and should not be tolerated.

Freedom of the Press Foundation will have more on this case as it develops.

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