The Guardian (1/22/20)
In a shocking attack on press freedom, the Brazil’s rightwing government announced on Tuesday it was charging the journalist Glenn Greenwald with “cybercrimes” in relation to his reporting on the Bolsonaro administration and corruption within its ranks.
Thankfully, as of now, Greenwald remains free; a federal judge must affirm the charges before he is officially indicted. But make no mistake: this move by the Brazilian government is an outrageous attempt to retaliate against a journalist who has reported critically on Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro; its justice minister, Sergio Moro; and their allies – and it reeks of authoritarianism.
Journalists everywhere should be disturbed by what this means for press freedom in the world’s fifth-largest country.
“Many courageous Brazilians sacrificed their liberty and even life for Brazilian democracy and against repression, and I feel an obligation to continue their noble work.” — Glenn Greenwald
Over the past year, Greenwald and the Intercept Brasil, where he is a founding editor, have published a series of explosive stories based on leaked text messages that show Moro, who was a judge at the time, closely coordinating with prosecutors during high-profile corruption trials. Most notably, Moro presided over the trial that sent Bolsonaro’s main rival for the presidency, the former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to prison. After Bolsonaro was elected, Moro was quickly named justice minister.
The Intercept’s investigations have rocked the political establishment in Brazil, have become a huge international story, and have created buzz that the Intercept will win major journalism awards.
Yet Bolsonaro spent last year publicly suggesting Greenwald should be thrown in prison, saying he “committed crimes” (without evidence) and that he “may do jail time”. He had previously hurled homophobic slurs at Greenwald. Bolsonaro’s fanatical supporters have also relentlessly harassed and threatened Greenwald and his spouse – the federal congressman and Guardian US columnist David Miranda – with physical harm. In June of last year, rightwing publications in Brazil sympathetic to the president said he was under investigation by the police. …