Extremists want to deport journalist who revealed 'Lavajatogate'

Extremists want to deport journalist who revealed 'Lavajatogate' JUSTICE
Jun 11, 2019 AT 9:00 PM
Glenn Edward Greenwald (Image: Fernando Frazão | ABr)

After publishing a series of reports bringing compromising dialogues involving the then federal judge Sérgio Moro and prosecutors of the Lava Jato task force, the website The Intercept Brasil started to be attacked by people demanding its closure. And journalist Glenn Greenwald, one of the authors of the articles and one of the founders of the website, became the target of the hatred of bolsonaristas and those who do not accept criticism of the operation.

The hashtag xenophobe #DeportaGreenwald came to be among the most shared on Monday (10), on Twitter, asking for his expulsion. Glenn, who is American and lives in Brazil, being married to Congressman David Miranda (PSOL-RJ), has also been suffering homophobic attacks since he brought the information to the public.

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, one of the most important in world journalism, Glenn Greenwald was one of those responsible, along with Edward Snowden, a former CIA official, for showing how his country's government illegally and massively monitored citizen communication.

A portion of society does not understand attacks on journalists as an attack on freedom of expression, a pillar of democracy. He sees this as a banal manifestation of discontent. Burned by superficial content distributed on social networks and not used to the public debate of ideas, the acceptance of difference of opinion and empathy for the other, part for ignorance. He gives in to the easy and crude speeches of analysts, falls in love with the violence of his leaders.

Some leaders know the size of their sounding board, the fanaticism of some of their followers, who act as an organized crowd, and the gigantism of networks sympathetic to them or controlled by them. By being aware of this and not taking action to prevent attacks, they become complicit in the consequences of their actions. They say not to incite violence with their words. But, as I said here, they are often not the ones who attack, but it is the overlapping of their speeches over time that distorts the world and makes aggression banal. Or, rather, “necessary” to get the country out of chaos and bring it to order. They end up feeding intolerance, which will then be consumed by crazy fans or inconsequential followers who do the dirty work.

You may not like the coverage of The Intercept Brasil or other websites, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV channels, the positioning of columnists and bloggers and deeply disagree with the agenda driven by a vehicle. The press, like any other social actor, can and should be criticized. If you see an error or bad faith in content published by a newspaper company, someone portrayed should seek, from the media outlet, their right to reply. And if that is insufficient, seek legal redress.

However, what we see in abundance are attacks translated into the invasion of professionals' private lives, distorting facts, exposing personal data, threatening their children and parents. Sometimes, this violence overflows the chain and goes to the street, to the restaurant, to the door of the house. Not infrequently, it turns into punches, kicks, stones, spit, jerks. Persecution is always more violent when the target is women (when the attack also gains sexuality), in addition to blacks and the LGBTTQ population.

The process of attacking journalists is similar to torture - the working tool of butcher Brilhante Ustra, a murderer of the military dictatorship, appointed as a hero by President Jair Bolsonaro. It is not used so that the journalist in question is punished for what he supposedly did, but so that, traumatized, he never has the courage to do it again.

In this sense, the President of the Republic has been an example for the inconsequential who attack journalists. In a moment, it uses a clearly false news to attack a reporter for the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo. In another, he commits harassment against one of Folha de S. Paulo during an interview. In the wake of this, thousands of furious followers accuse, condemn and promote punitive lynching on the networks.

According to statements by Glenn Greenwald and his team, this will not change the course of the investigation. They claim to have received a large amount of information from an anonymous source and much remains to be disclosed. Which does not mean they are not taking care. Being a journalist in Brazil can be more dangerous than covering wars.

I was invited to speak at a public hearing in the Chamber of Deputies, on June 4, about violence against journalists and communicators, which is growing across the country, and what it means for democracy. Organized by the Human Rights and Minorities Commissions and the Culture Commission, it had the participation of the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters, the Ministry of Women, the Family and Human Rights and the NGO Artigo 19, as well as parliamentarians.

It was recalled that respect for the integrity of journalists, whether they are traditional or alternative media, large or small media, liberal or conservative, remains one of the pillars of democracy.

Brazil is already one of the most violent countries for journalists and communicators, with people murdered in the exercise of their profession. In addition to ending impunity for those who incite and commit violence, an action to be taken by the State, it is essential to reduce the ultrapolarization of the public debate - which has been normalizing attacks on those who divulge something different than what an ideological group wants to hear, be it on the left , be on the right.

Cases like Glenn Greenwald's should be followed closely by the National Congress, the Federal Public Ministry and the National Council of Justice.

It is up to society to decide whether it wants a free press, even if it disagrees with it, and to come out in its defense. Or if you are satisfied with the proposal put on the table in the 2018 elections: replace the plurality and the contradictory with false messages posted on WhatsApp groups that confirm a limited worldview.

* Leonardo Sakamoto is a journalist and doctor in Political Science from the University of São Paulo
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