The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has urged Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to condemn ongoing attacks by politicians in his party and others on investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Greenwald, co-founder of the news website The Intercept and a resident of Brazil, has faced a campaign of harassment, including threats of violence, deportation and prosecution, after The Intercept published explosive revelations of unethical behaviour and abuse of power on the part of Sérgio Moro, a former judge and now Brazil’s justice minister. The campaign has been driven and encouraged by members of Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party.
Brazil has an obligation to ensure journalists can do their jobs free from retaliation. https://t.co/CFO1Y0yUg2
— IPI (@globalfreemedia) July 9, 2019
Most recently, Brazilian media reported that the country’s federal police, controlled by Moro in his capacity as justice minister, had opened an investigation into Greenwald’s finances.
“The threats against Mr. Greenwald and his family are highly disturbing and seriously threaten press freedom and freedom of expression in Brazil”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said in the letter to Bolsonaro. “It is the responsibility of your government to make sure that the campaign of hatred, intimidation and threats of violence against Mr. Greenwald and his family ceases immediately.”
Read the full letter below.
8 July 2019
His Excellency Jair Bolsonaro
President of the Federal Republic of Brazil
The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and journalists for press freedom, would like to express its grave concern over the attempts by the government of Brazil and some members of the ruling party to intimidate and silence Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept.
Since The Intercept published an eight-part exposé on conversations between prosecutors and a judge, Sérgio Moro, who is now the justice minister in your cabinet, Mr. Greenwald has faced a campaign of harassment, including threats of violence, deportation and prosecution, aimed at preventing him from doing his job as a journalist. According to media reports, the Brazilian government has now launched an investigation into Mr. Greenwald’s finances.
The past weeks have seen a campaign demanding the deportation of Mr. Greenwald, driven by members of the Social Liberal Party, including Mr. Carlos Jordy and Ms. Carla Zambelli. While Mr. Jordy demanded that Mr. Greenwald be punished and deported, Ms. Zambelli not only demanded his deportation but also published a photo of The Intercept’s offices in Brazil, elevating the risk of physical attacks on Mr. Greenwald and other journalists working there.
The vicious campaign against Mr. Greenwald has also extended to threatening his family and children. His husband, Mr. David Miranda, who is a member of the National Congress, received an email from a paramilitary group threatening to kill his mother and demanding ransom.
Your excellency, the threats against Mr. Greenwald and his family are highly disturbing and seriously threaten press freedom and freedom of expression in Brazil. We urge you to condemn them in the strongest terms both publicly and within your party so as to ensure that people know that your government does not condone attacks that put the life of a journalist and his family at risk.
The reported investigation into Mr. Greenwald’s finances by the federal police, which are controlled by Justice Minister Moro, appears to be the latest attempt to intimidate Mr. Greenwald and prevent publication of any further reports on this affair.
As a journalist Mr. Greenwald has the right to investigate, write and publish reports that are in the public interest, especially reports on corruption and abuse of power. The government is duty-bound to protect that right. Brazil is a signatory to international human rights instruments and therefore it is the responsibility of your government to make sure that the campaign of hatred, intimidation and threats of violence against Mr. Greenwald and his family ceases immediately.
We hope that you will consider our request and take action to ensure Mr. Greenwald remains safe and is able to work as a journalist free from retaliation and threats of prosecution or physical harm. We would appreciate your immediate intervention in this case.