The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today vehemently condemned the Brazilian government’s move to file charges against award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, founder of the news site The Intercept.

Prosecutors have charged Greenwald, an American journalist who lives with his family in Brazil, with cybercrimes, alleging that he helped, encouraged and guided a group of hackers to obtain cell phone messages exchanged between prominent people involved in the anti-corruption investigation known as the Car Wash case. The messages were published as part of a major exposé by The Intercept Brasil.

“The decision to prosecute Glenn Greenwald in apparent retaliation for his reporting is a blatant violation of press freedom and democratic norms by the Brazilian government”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “These charges reveal the Brazilian president’s attempts to silence the type of critical, investigative reporting that any democracy needs to survive. As a journalist, Glenn Greenwald did his job to expose abuse of power, and that is not a crime. The government should drop its charges against him.”

Greenwald has been targeted by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro and the ruling party since The Intercept Brasil published the eight-part exposé, which revealed 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.

In July 2019, Bolsonaro had said that Greenwald could be sent to jail but would not be deported.

The president’s statement was in response to a campaign demanding Greenwald’s deportation, driven by members of the Social Liberal Party, to which Bolsonaro belonged at the time. The attacks against Greenwald also extended to threatening his family and children. His husband, David Miranda, who is a member of Brazil‘s national Congress, received an email from a paramilitary group threatening to kill his mother and demanding ransom.