Judge censors TV Globo’s coverage of rights activist’s murder
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns a judge’s “disproportionate” decision to ban TV Globo, Brazil’s biggest TV channel, from broadcasting any further information about the police investigation into the murder of a well-known Rio de Janeiro city councillor. This ban censors public interest reporting on a major political case, RSF says.
A Rio de Janeiro state judge issued the ban on 17 November after TV Globo broadcast two reports on 14 November based on information obtained from the police investigation into the fatal shootings of city councillor and human rights activist Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes on 14 March.
TV Globo said its reports took care not to reveal information that could endanger witnesses or jeopardize the police investigation.
But the judge banned TV Globo from broadcasting any more reports about the police investigation on the grounds that “the leak of the content of the investigative case is very prejudicial because it exposes the personal data of witnesses and threatens the progress of the investigation.” TV Globo says it will appeal against the ruling.
“Covering a police investigation and providing information about the case is not the same as violating the investigation’s confidentiality,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau.
“The utterly disproportionate decision that the Brazilian justice system has taken in this case is designed to censor coverage by one of the country’s leading media outlets of a story in which there is a great deal of public interest. This is quite clearly a violation of press freedom and sets a dangerous precedent.”
There was an outcry in Brazil about the murder of Franco, a prominent feminist and defender of black and gay rights, but the police investigation has failed to produce any significant results in the eight months since her death.
Brazil is ranked 102nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.