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Brazil's president threatens journalist Glenn Greenwald

30 July 2019

Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has publicly threatened to imprison Glenn Greenwald. In reaction the NUJ joins with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its Brazilian affiliate, the Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas (FENAJ) in condemning the move. 

Journalists' unions are calling on the international community to denounce Bolsonaro’s autocratic persecution of Greenwald and the threats to media freedom in Brazil.

The case stems from the publication by The Intercept on 9 June 2019 of leaked chats compromising Sergio Moro, a former prominent judge who is now the justice minister. According to these reports, Sergio Moro gave prosecutors strategic advice and tips when he was in charge of the sprawling corruption investigation known as Operation Lava Jato to send to jail former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula. These revelations allegedly expose illegal coordination between the judge and prosecutors to shape and direct evidence during the trial against Lula.

During a military ceremony on 27 July 2019, Jair Bolsonaro indicated that Glenn Greenwald "might be imprisoned" over these revelations. A few days before, members of his political party had said the journalist was "aligned with criminal hackers".

The actions of the president represent the latest attempts to muzzle Glenn Greenwald’s investigative work. Greenwald has denounced the death threats to him and his team and the threats have included references to his private security guards, his house, children and private life.

The Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist is also a victim of a violent online harassment campaign called #DeportGlennGreenwald orchestrated by Bolsonaro’s supporters and which has been trending in Brazil.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"We strongly condemn any attempt to intimidate Glenn Greenwald and salute his courage in reporting in an increasingly hostile political environment. Brazilian authorities must immediately stop harassing him and other media workers and guarantee journalists' safety and fundamental rights."

In a statement the Federação Nacional dos Jornalistas said:

"We warn of the danger of restrictions on press freedom, which are always used by autocratic governments. FENAJ reaffirms its commitment to the defence of journalists’ freedom and their right to keep their sources secret."

Tags: , brazil, federacao nacional dos jornalistas, fenaj, ifj, the intercept, investigative journalism, journalist safety, protection of sources