The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has condemned the statement of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro threatening to send noted journalist and co-founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald to prison.
“President Bolsonaro’s threat to jail Glenn Greenwald is an outrageous and deeply troubling act from the leader of one of the world’s largest democracies”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “It clearly reveals the Brazilian president’s authoritarian desire to silence the type of critical, investigative reporting that any democracy needs to survive.”
Bolsonaro denied on Saturday that Greenwald, a U.S. citizen, would be deported, but suggested that he might be jailed instead. “After all, he is married to another man [federal deputy David Miranda, who is Brazilian] and has adopted boys in Brazil. He’s not leaving. Glenn can rest assured. Maybe he’ll go to jail here in Brazil. He won’t go to jail abroad”, Bolsonaro was quoted as saying while addressing a ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.
Greenwald has been targeted by the Bolsonaro government and the ruling party since The Intercept Brasil published an eight-part exposé on conversations between prosecutors and a judge, Sérgio Moro, who is now the justice minister. He 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 also launched an investigation into Greenwald’s finances.
“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”, Prasad said. “It the duty of the government to protect this right as Brazil is a signatory to international human rights instruments. The government is responsible for ensuring that the campaign of hatred, intimidation and threat of violence against Mr. Greenwald and his family cease immediately. When a president himself resorts to threatening a journalist, justice and the rule of law are seriously undermined.”
In the past weeks, demonstrations have been held in the country demanding Greenwald’s deportation. These demonstrations have been encouraged and organized by members of the ruling Partido Social Liberal, including Carlos Jordy and Carla Zambelli. While Jordy demanded that Greenwald be punished and deported, 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 Greenwald and other journalists working there.
The vicious campaign against Greenwald has also extended to threatening his family and children. His husband, David Miranda, received an email from a paramilitary group threatening to kill his mother and demanding ransom.