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A historic evening in defense of the freedom of the press

Almost two hours before the event began, the queues for the elevators of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) already reached the sidewalk, turning the corner of Araújo Porto Alegre St. and Mexico St. It was a sign of what would happen minutes later, at the ninth floor of the historic building filled with people and the dispute for a seat in the auditorium of the entity, where about a thousand people distributed themselves in chairs, on the floor, and leaning against the walls. Another two thousand would follow the event that overflowed the place over three hours, through the screens that displayed everything in real time, installed in the lobby that gives access to the auditorium and on the street. Through social networks, thousands more connected to the giant act that took place on Tuesday (30) in defense of press freedom and in solidarity with Glenn Greenwald and The Intercept Brazil – due to the persecution and constant attacks by the Bolsonaro government on the reporting team and, especially on the American journalist.

Glenn has been under attack for more than a month, since the beginning of the series of reports in which The Intercept, in partnership with Folha de S. Paulo and Veja, has been leaking deeply compromising conversations of the then judge and current Minister of Justice Sérgio Moro with the prosecutors of Car-Wash Operation, revealing serious illegalities in the operation. The government’s most serious attacks on Glenn and his team took place when, on Friday (26), the Ministry of Justice published an ordinance that provides for the deportation of foreigners considered “dangerous” – a clear provocation – and the next day, Jair Bolsonaro said that “he could be arrested right here in Brazil”. He also said that the journalist and her husband, the federal deputy David Miranda (PSOL-RJ), are “rascals” for having married in the country and that they adopted two Brazilian children in order to avoid a possible deportation.

The severity of the facts motivated the realization of the historical act that brought together artists, intellectuals, judges, citizens and politicians of all ideological shades, social movements, unions and various entities, such as the Students National Union (UNE), the Brazilian Lawyers Association (OAB), the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD) and the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD). Personalities such as Chico Buarque, Camila Pitanga, Wagner Moura, Carol Proner, Paulo Betti, Júlia Lemmertz, Humberto Carrão, Teresa Cristina, Marcelo D2, Fernanda Abreu, Pedro Luís, Maria Gadú, Guilherme Weber and Maria Augusta Ramos participated.

ABI reaffirmed its historical role in the defense of democratic and popular agendas by opening the doors to the realization of the event, which attracted several media outlets, and was also covered by the Jornal Nacional, such is its power and its relevance.

Throughout the night, videos were shown with messages of support for the work of Glenn and his team, including that of the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ); the journalist of Veja Reinaldo Azevedo; foreign journalists such as the American Margaret Sullivan, columnist for The Washington Post; the American James Risen, who was once an editor for The New York Times and is a member of the Intercept in the United States; the Canadian Naomi Klein, author of several books; and Tucker Carlson, a television presenter and political commentator for Fox News.

Some of the personalities, besides parliamentarians and other party representants of the PT, PCdoB, PDT, PSTU and PSOL, made speeches repudiating the attacks of Bolsonaro on Glenn and journalists of Intercept Brazil and defending the freedom of the press. From PSOL, the state deputy Luciana Genro (RS) and the federal deputy Marcelo Freixo (RJ) spoke. “Uncovering the collusion of the powerful is a task for courageous journalists,” said Luciana.

Other deputies of the Socialist Left Movement (MES), in addition to her, participated in the act, such as Porto Alegre councilman Roberto Robaina and the three federal deputies Fernanda Melchionna (RS), Sâmia Bomfim (SP) and David Miranda (RJ), who, together with the two children of his marriage to Glenn, introduced the speech of his husband, the most awaited moment of the night.

In addition to emphatically defending the freedom of the press and the right to secrecy from sources, guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution, Glenn highlighted the professionalism of the Intercept Brazil team and stressed that the fact that Bolsonaro directs the attacks only on him and his family, ignoring the other authors of the series “Vaza Jato”, is a strategy of personification with the clear objective of assigning political-ideological burden to a serious journalistic work, whose social responsibility and political relevance transcend ideological positions.

The journalist also recalled the brutal execution of comrade Marielle Franco and the importance of revealing the principals and the motivation for the crime, which also resulted in the death of the former councilwoman’s driver, Anderson Gomes. These are fundamental responses to the fight against authoritarianism and political violence in Brazil. “I will not let Brazil fall back into a dictatorship,” he said, reaffirming his commitment to the country where his husband and children were born, and where he has lived for almost 15 years.

Memorable, the night of July 30, 2019 entered the history of Brazilian politics. The act was a milestone in the democratic struggle and the first articulation of this magnitude with the unity of action of broad sectors against the authoritarianism of the Bolsonaro government. Its form and content were politically very accurate and should serve as an example for future constructions of democratic resistance.

 

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Writing office

  • Pedro Fuentes
  • Bernardo Corrêa
  • Charles Rosa
  • Clara Baeder