Brazil: “End the 1967 Press Law”

You can be aggressive in hunting down news, that’s one thing. It is quite another thing to be agressive in a way that disrespects authority. You must not let your authority be disrespected. … In those who have authority, that authority is intrinsic, it is innate. … if you do not respect yourself, journalist will not respect you, just as no one at home will respect you. A single look can generally resolve half such problems. The way you look at them when you answer, and the journalist will not persist in posing a disrespectful question. The late Sen. Antônio Carlos Magalhães of Brazil (Aristotle Onassis to Larry Rohter’s Oriana Fallacci)

A look that says, “I can have you killed, you know.”

Chinaglia promete lutar pelo fim da lei de Imprensa: The President of the lower house of the Brazilian congress “promises to fight for the end of the 1967 Press Law.”

It will be interesting to see whom he has to fight to get that done. See, for example,

Some media organizations here seem to make effective use of its provisions themselves. See

SÃO PAULO – O presidente da Câmara dos Deputados, Arlindo Chinaglia, assumiu ontem, durante sessão solene para homenagear a Associação Brasileira de Imprensa (ABI), o compromisso de trabalhar pelo fim da Lei de Imprensa (5250/67), que chamou de “velha e autoritária”. A proposta para acabar com essa lei partiu do deputado Miro Teixeira (PDT-RJ), autor do requerimento para homenagear a ABI, que completará 100 anos em 7 de abril de 2008.

The president of the lower house, Chinaglia, promised yesterday, during a ceremony honoring the Brazilian Press Association (ABI), to work to put an end to the Press Law (No. 5,250/1967), which he called “antiquated and authoritarian.” The proposal to do away with the law came from Miro Teixeira (PDT-Rio de Janeiro), author of the resolution honoring the ABI, which celebrates its centennial on April 7, 2008.

De acordo com Teixeira, a Lei de Imprensa “é o último entulho do autoritarismo em vigor, pois todos os demais já foram removidos”. Ela foi criada em 1967, num dos períodos mais duros do regime militar (1964-1985). O deputado acrescentou que, até hoje, ainda se faz intimidação aos jornalistas em nome dessa lei. Segundo ele, a lei foi criada para inibir jornalistas que denunciavam o arrocho salarial e a opressão do regime militar.

According to Teixeira, the Press Law is “the last vestige of authoritarianism still in effect; all the others have been removed.” It was created in 1967, during one of the harshest periods of the military dictatorship (1964-1985). Teixeira added that even today, journalists are still intimidated in the name of this law. According to him, the law was created to inhibit journalists from reporting on the lowering of the minimum wage and the oppression of the military regime. 

A new press law was proposed in 1995, but (I think; let me check) did not pass.

It seemed to have tried to make it against the law to lie to the public.

São deveres dos meios de comunicação social:

It is the duty of social communications media to:

I – comprovar a veracidade da informação prestada, recorrendo, sempre que possível, a diversas fontes e garantindo a pluralidade de versões das partes que tiverem relevante participação nos fatos noticiados;

Prove the accuracy of the information supplied, having recourse, whenever possible, to multiple sources, and guaranteeing the plurality of statements by the parties who have a relevant involvement in the facts reported on;

II — não fazer referências discriminativas sobre raça, religião, sexo, preferências sexuais, doenças mentais, convicções políticas e condição social;

II — Not to make discriminatory references about race, religion, gender, sexual preference, mental illnesses, political convictions or social conditions.

III – assegurar o direito de resposta;

III — to guarantee the right of reply;

The 1967 law apparently created loopholes and exceptions to this duty.

IV – observar meios éticos na obtenção da informação;

IV — Use ethical means to obtain information;

V – não identificar vítimas de abusos sexuais e menores infratores;

V — Not identify victims of sexual abuse and minor delinquents;

VI – defender os interesses coletivos e a ordem democrática;

VI — Defend the collective interest and the democratic order;

VII – noticiar com destaque as condenações que tiver sofrido em razão da presente lei;

VII — Prominently report on sentences involving the violation of this law;

VIII – manter serviço permanente de atendimento ao público;

VIII — Maintain a permanent customer-service operation;

IX – publicar, pelo valor comercial tabelado, as matérias pagas assinadas que lhes forem dirigidas, salvo nas hipóteses de afronta aos direitos essenciais da pessoa humana, ordem democrática ou ofensa à empresa proprietária do veículo de comunicação, seus diretores ou prepostos.

IX — Publish, at standard rates, the paid articles that were sent to them, except in cases where doing so would violate human rights, the democratic order, or constitute an offense to the company that owns the medium of communication, its management or its employees.

Miro declarou ainda que o pior problema de uma ditadura é o guarda de quarteirão. “Existem esses guardas de quarteirão por aí, na estrutura do poder, que vivem a intimidar jornalistas e publicações com uma lei que é produto do autoritarismo”, disse. “Não é preciso sequer lê-la para ficar contra ela. Basta ver quem são seus autores, basta ver a época, o que representa e por que foi motivada”.

Miro also says the worst problem of a dictatorship is the “block captain.” “There are these block captains around, in the structures of power, who live to intimidate journalists and publications with a law that is a product of authoritarianism,” he said. “It is not even necessary to read it to be against it. You just need to look at who wrote it, and when, what it represents and what motivated it.”

See

Journalist and attorney Vinícius Ferreira Laner has this analysis of the issue.

No entanto, desde 1991 tramita no Congresso Nacional projeto da nova lei de imprensa de autoria do senador Josaphat Marinho, que traz grandes modificações nesta pasta.

… a proposed new press law by Senator Josaphat Marinho has been working its way through Congress since 1991 that would bring great changes [in this area.] 

On Josaphat Marinho — no relation — a Wikipedia stub:

Eleito antes do golpe militar de 1964, participou da fundação do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro – MDB, partido de oposição ao regime de exceção, ocupando sua cadeira senatorial de 1963 a 1971. Em 1986, porém, já sob o regime civil, teve o apoio de Antonio Carlos Magalhães nas eleições para o governo do Estado da Bahia, sendo derrotado por Waldir Pires.

Elected prior to the 1964 coup, he took part in the founding of the MDB, the party of opposition to the dictatorship, and served as Senator from 1963 to 1971. In 1986, supported by Antonio Carlos Magalhães, he ran for governor of Bahia, but was defeated by Waldir Pires.

Until just recently the Defense minister here, Mr. Pires.

Marinho served as a PFL senator from Bahia, 1991-1999. (The PFL being the post-dictatorship incarnation of ARENA, the party of the president-generals.)

Com o advento da Constituição Federal de 1998, várias modificações sofreu a Lei 5.250/67.

With the advent of the Federal Constitution of 1998 [sic], Law 5250/67 has suffered various modifications.

The Federal Constitution of 1988, right?

A principal delas foi quando à legitimação das liberdades de expressão, informação e de imprensa, que se encontra no Título VII, Capítulo V, Da Comunicação Social, artigos 220 à 224 da CF/88. Este capítulo inscreveu normas de comunicação coletiva, extinguiu a censura, inseriu o direito de resposta, o dever de informar e o direito de ser informado.

The first of this was the legitimation of the freedom of expression, information and the press found in Title VII, Chapter V, “On Social Communication,” articles 220-2224 of the Federal Constitution of 1988. This chapter laid down rules for collective communication, abolished censorship, inserted the right of reply the duty to inform, and the right to be informed.

Reading …

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