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Council On Hemispheric Affairs
Political, Economic and Diplomatic Issues Affecting the Western Hemisphere
Memorandum to the Press 04.67
Wednesday, 29 September, 2004
Word Count: 1400
Brazil’s Proposed New Press Law Darkens
• Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is moving to enact a new press law calling for
disturbing changes to the rules governing journalists that has some critics
fearing a slow reversion to the era of dictatorship.
• Recent shake-ups in the Brazilian Press Association would allow the
already powerful unions CUT and Fenaj to merge to
form a new body based on their own fused agendas.
• This proposed new council is designed to accredit, regulate and
censor all foreign and local journalists working in Brazil; it will have the
power to impose penalties for violations and even ban journalists from
practicing their profession altogether if the offense is serious enough.
• Despite this controversial proposal, Lula’s current popularity among
Brazilians remains high. But the embarrassing incident involving a New York
Times reporter last May, which is believed to have sparked the new legislation,
has led other news organizations and groups both at home and abroad to be
skeptical of the government’s intent.
On August 5, 2004,
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva proposed a new measure that, if
enacted, is sure to change the face of journalism as it is now practiced in the
country. Calling for the creation of a Federal Council of Journalism, the new
legislation would, at least theoretically, severely restrict the rights of
journalists operating in Brazil. Serious consequences could befall any journalist who
did not comply with a strict set of rules put forth by the Council. Critics of
the law feel that Lula, elected on a progressive platform calling for social
reform, is now resorting to some of the same restrictive practices routinely
used by his predecessors who ruled during the country’s bleak epoch of military
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This analysis was
prepared by Ashley Rasmussen, COHA Research Associate.
September 29, 2004
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