Brazil court back reporter on leaks case

Finally, good news on the journalism front from Brazil.

A court in Sao Paulo ruled that journalists have the right to publish material leaked to them by government employees.

The ruling came in the case of attorney Susan Volpini in lawsuit against TV Globo.

Volpini complained about the leaking of information that linked her to an organized crime syndicate. She was later acquitted of the charge.

Volpini sued Globo for US$700,000 in moral damages.

The judge tossed the case, saying it is the responsibility of the government agencies to protect information. It is the responsibility of the journalists to test the veracity of the source and information.

The press has the right to report to the content [of the documents],” the judge wrote. He added that action can only be taken against the person who leaked the information, not the reporter or news organization.

This is good news in Brazil. The country is still dealing with the legacy of the dictatorship in some of the laws still on the books. And it is dealing with “popular” movements from the left. In both situations, press freedom is not a high priority.

In the past few years there have been a number of proposed laws and presidential initiatives that threaten press freedom and media independence.

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Filed under Harassment, Press Freedom, South America

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