Bolsonaro election marked by more attacks on Brazil’s media
After Jair Bolsonaro’s election as Brazil’s president on 28 October saw more press freedom violations of the kind already seen in the campaign, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) deplores the climate of hate that is complicating the work of journalists and urges the new president to stress the importance of a free, critical and independent press instead of vilifying it.
In his first speech after the official announcement of his victory – a speech broadcast on Facebook Live – Bolsonaro hailed a victory that had been achieved, he said, “despite the big media that criticize me and insult me.”
A few hours earlier, as the first results came in, Bolsonaro’s press officer, Carlos Eduardo Guimarães sent this message to a list of professional journalists assigned to covering the elections: “So, we were going to have a draw? You played Brazilian journalism’s biggest hoax!!! SCUM”.
During the celebrations following the election, Bolsonaro supporters insulted and attacked journalists with the Folha de São Paulo daily (already the target of serious attacks during the campaign) and journalists with the O Povo newspaper and TV Verdes Mares.
Several international press correspondents told RSF that they were treated in a similar manner, that they were subjected to intimidation, insulted and told to “go back to your own country.”
“The hate speech and sweeping attacks on the press that have marked Jair Bolsonaro’s victory in the presidential election do not bode well for the new era beginning in Brazil,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau.
“This behaviour, which fuels a climate of confrontation and constant mistrust towards journalists, is completely counter-productive. To preserve Brazil’s democracy, Jair Bolsonaro must now try to unify the country and must stress the importance of a free, critical and independent press, instead of vilifying it.”
During the election campaign, RSF sound the alarm about the dangers that a Bolsonaro presidency posed to press freedom and democracy in Brazil.
Brazil is ranked 102nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.