In the past week, journalist Glenn Greenwald has been repeatedly threatened with jail time by right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. Multiple members of Brazil’s Congress have called for him to be arrested or his articles censored. Justice Minister Sergio Moro implied on Twitter Greenwald should be deported. Greenwald, his family, and his colleagues at The Intercept Brazil have also received countless death threats over the past six weeks.
All of these intimidation tactics stem from a series of important investigative articles published by The Intercept Brazil and other prominent Brazilian publications over the past month and a half. The stories have detailed confidential conversations then-judge Moro had with federal prosecutors that raise serious ethical and legal issues surrounding prominent corruption cases and the 2018 Brazilian election.
The only “crime” Greenwald and The Intercept Brazil have been accused of is the same type of action that countless news outlets around the world engage in every day: publishing news stories in the public interest, based on information from a confidential source.
Today, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and dozens of other international press freedom and human rights organizations have released an open letter forcefully condemning these threats and intimidation tactics, and are calling on the Brazilian government to protect the press freedom rights of all the reporters involved.
The letter states “the attempts to undermine and attack the credibility of The Intercept Brazil and its partners are viewed by the signatories of this appeal as a grave threat to the freedom to inform. Not only are they designed to deflect the public’s attention from the content of the revelations but above all, they reinforce an increasingly hostile work environment for the media and especially for investigative journalism.”
The letter goes on to state: “Freedom of the press and information are pillars of democracy. They transcend political divisions and must be protected and guaranteed at all costs.”
Greenwald is a founding board member of Freedom of the Press Foundation. We stand fully behind our friend and colleague and demand that the Brazilian government and its officials cease their dangerous threats to core press freedom rights that should be guaranteed to every journalist.
The full letter can be read below.