Globo | «Tax Cheat Case Remains Active »

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Source: Barão de Itararé

We now have a number and a name: [Federal Police] Investigation 926 / 2013 will be commanded by federal police officer Rubens Lyra.

The headquarters of the Federal Police’s tax enforcement division, Fabio Ricardo Ciavolih Mota, confirmed to a group of Barao reporters who went to interview him: A police investigation of tax and financial crimes allegedly committed by Globo in 2002, is formally underway.

TV Globo’s financial crimes in the Virgin Islands were initially identified by an international cooperation agency. TV Globo had used a front company to acquire the rights to broadcast the 2002 World Cup, without paying taxes.  Continue reading

Alstom Case | Information “Round-Filed” For Years

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Source: Jornal do Brasil

Federal lawmakers file suit against former attorney-general Rodrigo de Grandis. The parliamentarians demand an explanation for the postponement of a request for assistance from Swiss prosecutors.

The explanation given so far: The documents were filed in the wrong envelope and then lost and forgotten. I kid you not.

Workers Party legislators are due to file suit with the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) this Friday against prosecutor Rodrigo De Grandis on the suspicion that he delayed acting on a request from Swiss authorities regarding the possible involvement of ranking Toucans — Social Democrats — in an international crime scheme. The collaborative effect was intended to examine the formation of a cartel involving Siemens and Alstom in contracts with the commuter railway, the Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM).

The petition comes with the signature of the leader of the PT benches in the lower house, José Guimarães (CE), as well as deputies Ricardo Berzoini (SP) and Edson Santos (RJ). In the document, they ask for a true explanation of the violations of legal principles that a preliminary probe has already revealed. The document requests that if the charges are true, then de Grandis should be held responsible for a crime of omission in the investigation of the the CPTM cartel.

The PT deputies want more information on the fact that de Grandis [literally] buried the case. Deputy Renato Simões (PT-SP) says de Grandis failed to live up to his duties as a prosecutor, disrupting an investigation and refusing to collaborate with the Swiss, an action that needs a better explanation.

This weekend, information published in the press indicates that Rodrigo de Grandis ["round-filed"] the case starting in 2010 — and not just this case. He dragged his feet in eight more cases despite repeated requests for cooperation from the Swiss. The Swiss agency MOP discovered financial transactions by the consultantsArthur Teixeira, Sérgio Teixeira and José Amaro Pinto Ramos, all three suspected of brokering bribes, as well as the  ex-director of the CPTM, João Roberto Zaniboni, suspected of having gotten away with R$ 18.4 million from Alstom.

Folha de S. Paulo and its publisher Otavio Frias were uncharacteristically harsh in a case in which it, too, might be said to have swept a few facts under the rug:

A harsh editorial in the Frias family newspaper, calls the excuse that the file requesting the assistance of Swiss prosecutors looking into a case that involves bribery and the social democratic party.

“No investigation work has been done, then. And the reason given for this act of omission defies the credibility of even the most naive of us. They say they the request from the Swiss was misfiled. Or so says the prosecutor responsible for the case in Brazil, Rodrigo de Grandis,” the editorial says. “Let us not just leave it at that so that the Toucan train can roll on to its all too familiar destination: impunity.”

The Minister of Justice, Cardozo, says de Grandis failed to take action as ordered on several occasions.

Uma nota oficial do Ministério da Justiça, divulgada na noite de ontem, joga por terra a alegação do procurador Rodrigo de Grandis e do Ministério Público de que também teria havido falhas do governo federal na cooperação com autoridades suíças em relação ao caso Alstom, empresa que distribuiu propinas a personagens ligados ao PSDB para obter contratos milionários nos setores de transporte e energia em São Paulo. A equipe de José Eduardo Cardozo esclareceu ainda que o procurador Rodrigo de Grandis foi alertado em diversas oportunidades para tomar providências. Leia abaixo:

Brasília, 1º/11/2013 – Em relação à nota da Procuradoria-Geral da República, o Ministério da Justiça esclarece que não houve qualquer falha na tramitação dos pedidos de cooperação oriundos da Suíça referentes ao denominado Caso Alstom.

Os mencionados pedidos de cooperação foram encaminhados, desde março de 2010, à então Assessoria de Cooperação Internacional da Procuradoria Geral da República (atual Secretaria de Cooperação Internacional). Ressalta-se que este procedimento ocorre com todo e qualquer pedido recebido de países estrangeiros pelo Departamento de Recuperação de Ativos e Cooperação Jurídica (DRCI) e são direcionados à Procuradoria Geral da República para cumprimento.

Os únicos ofícios que foram encaminhados somente ao Procurador da República, Rodrigo de Grandis, foram seis reiterações dos pedidos iniciais, como forma de cobrar o andamento do pedido, procedimento adotado pelo Departamento.

Considerando este cenário, não procede a informação de que haveria tido falha no envio do pedido.

Jose Dirceu accused de Grandis of politicizing the case

News of an internal investigation of de Grandis is in th papers today: the Folha, the Estadão and Valor. “Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with requests from Swiss authorities,” reads a subhed in the Folha. “Internal affairs wants to know why Rodrigo de Grandis did not comply with the request for assistance from the Swiss in the Alstom case, read a headline in the Estadão.

No episódio comprova-se mais uma vez a seletividade do Ministério Público nas investigações. E da cobertura da imprensa, que habitualmente dá pouquíssimo espaço ao caso – e nenhum, quando envolve o procurador De Grandis. Já a palavra dele próprio, entrevista, etc… – nada. Habitualmente exibido e falador quando é para atacar a honra alheia, ele agora se esconde da mídia.

Tampouco sua “distração” em relação ao pedido da Suíça, à investigação, motiva menções nos jornais a nomes de políticos e governadores tucanos em cujas administrações se formou o conluio em torno do cartel. Já quando os casos envolvem o PT o nome do partido e de seus integrantes vai para as manchetes, títulos, legendas, chamadas, textos – vai em tudo.

Comendador Gets 19 Years

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Source:  Associação Brasileira da Imprensa | Fato Notório

The sentencing council of a Cuiabá criminal court has voted, 4-3, to sentence former state policeman turned organized crime boss to 19 years in prison for arranging the  murder of Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Filho Junior, 41, owner of the daily Folha do Estado, in September 2002.

According to the state high court of Mato Gross (TJ-MT), Judge Marcos Faleiro set the sentence at 19 years because João Arcanjo Ribeiro ordered subordinates to commit murder, doubly qualified …

The federal Public Ministry declared at the the time that Sávio Brandão published various articles in his newspaper denouncing a criminal organization led the defendant, who denies the claim.

Comendador João Arcanjo Ribeiro — the honorary title conferred upon Arcanjo by the legislative assembly of Mato Grosso — will initially be subject to maximum security and will not be allowed to await the results of his appeals in freedom. The comendador has been in preventive detention since  2003, accused of taking part in the murders of Mauro Sérgio Manhoso, Rivelino Jacques Brunini, Fauze Rachid Jaudy, Valdir Pereira, Leandro Gomes dos Santos, Celso Borges, and Mauro Celso de Moraes. There is also a charge attempted murder targeting Gisleno Fernandes. All the crimes were registered between 2000 and 2002 in Cuiabá and Várzea Grande.

The trial of Arcanjo, expected to last two days, began [last Thursday] morning. There was a heavy police presence. Immediately following the sentencing jury and the passing of sentence, at 9:00 a.m.  Arcanjo’s attorney argued for the dismissal of the charges. On the previous day, the federal appears court,  Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ), had already rejected a petition against the use of a popular jury.

According to the Folha de S. Paulo, senior magistrate Rui Ribeiro, of the TJ-MT, had turned down a petition b Arcanjo to dispense with the jury, arguing that the local presss, “in solidarity with the victime has produced a publicity massacre of the  defendant.” The judge found the intense interest in the murder of Brandão “only natural.”

The defense also tried to prevent the presentation of evidence by two informants enlisted by the MP: Police official Luciano Inácio, who authored the final report in the case, and Senator Pedro Taques, who, as Attorney-General of the Union, took part in investigating other crimes in which the comendador took part. The honorary title comendador was granted by the state legislative assembly of Mato Grosso.

Charges

Among the witnesses for the accusation, the jury heard from Luiza Marília de Barros Lima, sister of the victim and a witness to the crime, and Maria Luiza Clarentino de Souza, former employee of the daily Folha do Estado de Mato Grosso.

Arcanjo revealed to the judge his involvement in numbers rackeering and casinos, but denied involvement in “nickel hunter” slot machines, as well as the murder of the journalist.

I believe I read at the time that he owned a modest factoring business.

The defendant said he had not been offended by articles published by Sávio Brandão which targeted Arcanjo. “I am a person of humble origins, and ex-cop, a prospector and a successful numbers entrepreneur. People don’t accept that,” Arcanjo said.

After the pronouncement of sentence, relatives of Sávio Brandão seemed relieved:

— We have lived through a very difficult episode in our lives. Now, we fee relieved. It is sad that I cannot hold my son in my arms, said the mother of the victim.

The Crime

Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Junior was murdered on Septmber 30, 2002, at 3:30 p.m. in the Consil neighborhood of  Cuiabá. he was struck by gunfire from a 9mm piestol and died on the scene.

The MP-MT accused João Arcanjo Ribeiro of ordering the crime.  Célio Alves de Souza, Hércules Araújo Agostinho, Fernando Barbosa Belo and João Leite were part of the group responsible for the execution of the publisher. 

The death of Sávio Brandão shocked Brazi and led to a major police operation known as “Noah’s Ark,”in 2002. The operation dismantled the comendador’s operation, but he managed to make his escape to Uruguay, where he was captured in April 2003.

The trial of Arcanjo, which has followed legal channels since September 2003, is based on 25 volumes and more than 5,500 pages.

Due to the countless appeals filed by defense counsel in the past 10 years, the case has been considered by every instance of the judiciary, included the Supreme Court and the federal appeals court (STJ).  On September 16 of thisyear, Cuiabá Judge Mônica Catarina Perri Siqueira, set October 24 as the day for trial by jury.

 

Globo | Philanthropy = Pilantropia

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Source: DoLaDoDeLá |  Diario do Centro do Mundo (Paulo Nogueira)

Topic: Pilantropia

Derived from the term “phIlantropy” and associated with dishonest acts by persons who are pilantras —  low-down liars and shameless villains.

Continue reading

Metrogate | “Marked Cards,” Says Folha

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Source: Folha de S.Paulo

An exchange of e-mails among Siemens executives indicate that companies had prior access to the plans of the CPTM for four auctions held by the state government in 2004 — during the second term of Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) as governor.

A document in the possession of federal antitrust authorities to which the Folha had access show that even before the publication of the conditions for the auction, the companies were already discussing how to divide up the  Boa Viagem program, launched by Alckmin and designed to refurbish, renovate and modernize the trains.

On November 24, and titled “Acquisition Planned by CPTM in Brazil,” an e-mail sent by a Siemens exec detailed how the company wish to divide up the contracts among the major suppliers. The first public announcement of the auctions were not made until two days later.

“The various reforms should go to various suppliers. The main goal of the  CPTM is to assign the complete package to four major suppliers  (Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and T’Trans). In our case, we can count on  Iesa and  MGE as subcontractors”, the e-mail, signed by executive Marcos Missawa, said.

[Link] The other side: State denies ever discussing project with contractors

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PL39/13 | A Chip Off the FCPA

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No problem does more to alienate citizens from their political leaders and institutions,and to undermine political stability and economic development, than endemic corruption among the government, politica l party leaders, judges, and bureaucrats. — USAID Anti-Corruption Strategy

Source Valor Econômico | Portal ClippingMP.

Brazilian attorneys Leonardo Guimarães and Flávia Godinho compare recent anti-corruption legislation in Brazil with congeners in the U.S. and Britain.

Corruption indiscriminately affects citizens, public institutions and private organizations. Brazil as a whole is damaged when  corruption distorts the mechanism of the free markets — undermining fair competition, inspiring uncertainty among business owners, and driving away investors. For this reason,  combating corruption has been the subject of diverse international conventions, such as the Interamerican Anti-Corruption Convention organized by the OAS and signed in 1996; the OCDE Anti-Bribery Convention, from 1997; and the UN Anti-Corruption Convention, approved in 2005.

In response to the various international obligations it assumed, Brazil has passed laws designed to combat corruption, such as the Law of Administrative Impropriety and the “Clean Slate” Law.

Brazilian law still suffers from lacunae in its treatment of active corruption by a corporate entity, the only punishment for which is a restriction on the right to enter into contracts with the government.

Existing  mechanisms must be improved if the new law is not to be just another case of legislative inflation.

In the context of adapting our law according to international standards, we now have before us the PLA, the Anti-Corruption Bill (PL 39/13), which will regulate the civil and administrative responsibility of corporate entities for acts injurious to the public administration, both here and abroad. The law was approved in July 2007.

From the point of view of comparative jurisprudence,  PL 39/13 closely resembles the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), an innovative piece of legislation from the U.S.,in force since 1977, which prohibits the bribing of foreign public officials by U.S. corporations. It bears some  resemblance as well with the  Bribery Act, passed in 2011, a British anti-corruption law.

FCPA: Notable Cases

Although you read that the FCPA is too little used, there are at least two very interesting cases of its application: the Wal-Mart Mexico debacle and the record-setting settlement with SIemens.

An April 2012 article in The New York Times reported that a former executive of Walmart de Mexico alleged in September 2005 that Walmart de Mexico had paid bribes to officials throughout Mexico in order to obtain construction permits, that Walmart investigators found credible evidence that Mexican and American laws had been broken, and that Walmart executives in the United States “hushed up” the allegations. According to an article in Bloomberg, Wal-Mart’s “probe of possible bribery in Mexico may prompt executive departures and steep U.S. government fines if it reveals senior managers knew about the payments and didn’t take strong enough action, corporate governance experts said.”[6] Eduardo Bohorquez, the director of Transparencia Mexicana, a “watchdog” group in Mexico, urged the Mexican government to investigate the allegations.[7] Wal-Mart and the US Chamber of Commerce had participated in a campaign to amend FCPA; according to proponents, the changes would clarify the law, while according to opponents, the changes would weaken the law.

Siemens, in the Brazilian public eye at the moment, figures in this story, too.

In 2008, Siemens AG paid a $450 million fine for violating the FCPA. This is one of the largest penalties ever collected by the DOJ for an FCPA case

The lede:

In a December 15, 2008 press release, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed the details of a $450 million criminal fine payment made by Siemens AG, a German company, and three of its subsidiaries. The four pleaded guilty of violations related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA). The three subsidiaries, Siemens S.A. – Argentina; Siemens Bangladesh Limited; and Siemens S.A. – Venezuela pleaded to one-count informations involving conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery and books and records provisions of the FCPA.

Taking One for the Team

Clarifying the line between “physical” and “legal” entities — my physical being and my purely notional translation business, say — is an important objective.

As in the examples just cited, the provisions of  PL 39/13 target the financier of the illegal act and not the receiver of the bribe. This is a completely novel approach with respect to the Brazilian legal system.

Within the spectrum of harmful acts that deserve to be repressed we find the defrauding of contract auctions and administrative contracts, as well as promising, offering or delivering, even if indirectly, an undue advantage to a public official or a third party related to that official.

In addition, it is forbidden to use an intermediary to hide or simulate the real interests or the identity of the beneficiaries of the act in question, or to hamper the work of agencies, institutions or public servants or intervene in their activity.

Administrative sanctions  – including the payment of a fine between 0.1% and 20% of gross income for the previous quarter — are applied independently of whether or not the guilt of a corporate entity is proven.

I read that paragraph carefully, and that is what it says. I suppose it means that if I cheat at poker in my official capacity as VP of Poker, my cheating reflects on my employer, since it was done in his name, even though without his knowledge.

There is a Brazilian legal concept called the domínio do fato that works in a similar manner. It came up frequently during the recent “payola” trial in the Supreme Court, where Zé Dirceu, for example, was not proven to have actively participated in the scheme but who was held responsible for reasons of domínio do fato.

Civil sanctions depend on proof of guilt or guilty intent, excepting the loss of assets and sums of money obtained by means of the infraction. It should be emphasized that the fate of the corporate entity does not let the physical person responsible off the hook — this person may be tried separately and/or simultaneously.

Also worth mentioning is the rule that provides benefits in the application of sentences for companies that adopt corruption prevention practices, such as “internal mechanisms and procedures to preserve integrity, audit carefully, and provide whistleblower incentives, as well as instilling effective ethical codes for the organization as a whole”.

This rule, one of the most beneficial provisions of the bill, stimulates the implementation or updating of “compliance” programs  – the Anglo-Saxon term means to act according to a rule. Compliance programs guarantee the adoption of conduct that conforms with the rules and polices, both internal and external, of the company, as well as fostering a transparent ethical atmosphere conductive to corporate best practices.

This is a major advance in our legislation, which will now take into account the procedures and internal policies of companies as a way of reducing punishments, as has become commonplace in countries like the U.S. and Great Britain.

Observe as well that where there is no regulatory framework to define the pillars of a compliance program, The American guide, A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (PDF), can be useful. It identifies the “hallmarks” of what are considered to be essential factors in a successful compliance effort.

A integridade e os princípios éticos devem estar presentes em todas as ações realizadas pela empresa, incluindo seu relacionamento com o setor público. A possibilidade de uma mudança de cultura a respeito do relacionamento entre o poder público e o particular, com a incorporação de um compromisso das empresas contra a corrupção, é, certamente, uma boa inovação trazida pelo projeto.

Embora o projeto de lei, de forma geral, represente um avanço no combate à corrupção, principalmente no que se refere ao incentivo da criação de mecanismos internos de controle nas empresas, deve-se ter em mente as vulnerabilidades processuais e investigativas do nosso sistema, cujas leis anticorrupção anteriores não conduziram aos avanços esperados. A melhor resposta que se possa dar à corrupção, antes da criação de mais um aparato formal, é o aprimoramento e a efetivação dos mecanismos já existentes, para que as novas leis não se transformem em mera inflação legislativa, sem qualquer efetividade.

Globopar and the Virgins | Material Events

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Source: Blog da Cidadania

Between 2001 and 2002,  Globo Comunicações e Participações Ltda. (Globopar) organized a financial scheme to acquire the transmission rights to the World Cup of 2002. The federal tax authority found the scheme to be fraudulent and criminal. The company was punished  with heavy fines and other penalties.

Globopar had acquired a company in the Virgin Islands that was dissolved just one year later. The funds traced to this company by the tax authority were used by the Marinho family holding company to pay for the transmission rights.

The tax authority brought charges against the company, finding that the transaction had resulted in the evasion of the Income Tax for Corporations [IRPJ] and demanding the payment of the principal, together with adjustment for inflation and a fine. In all, the company was presented with a bill for some R$ 600 million.

All of this took place at a time when news of Globo’s financial problems were widely reported in Brazil and around the world.

In October 2002,  Globopar, a shareholder and operator of the NET cable TV network — an asset it would later sell to the Mexican group Telmex — announced it would renegotiate the deadlines for settling the debt generated by its participation in NET.

At the time, market experts viewed the manuever as a sort of  [“blank  settlement”] by Globo.

Continue reading

Latifúndio | Counting the Beans

Senator Kátia Abréu: "Miss Deforestation"

Senator Kátia Abréu: “Miss Deforestation”

Source:  Brasil de Fato

At least six of the major foreign and domestic groups in the agribusiness, mining and firearms industries invested  R$ 1.395 million in the 2010 election campaigns of nine of the 17 federal deputies who signed  PLP 227.

The bill weakens protections of indigenous rights to ownership of their traditional territories.

Data from the federal elections tribunal (TSE):  See the complete list of campaign donors to the 17 authors of PLP 227.

Dozens of other companies and multinationals involved in grain, pesticides, meatpacking, mining and construction are well represented among the principal donors of the lawmakers who signed PLP 227. As the Parliamentary Agriculture Front denounces the supposedly corrupt interests of native peoples and environmentalists, without ever naming names, the TSE donation figures indicate who should really be questioned about conflicts of interest. Continue reading

The Big Payola | Globo and Banco Rural

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Source: DoLaDoDeLá

We all know that at the beginning of  the 2000s, Globo Participações was on the brink of  collapse. It had tried to get the federal government to back a financial recuperation plan along the same lines as Proer, a program created by the Cardoso government to rescue banks from what used to be called “contagion” or “systemic risk.”

The proverbial “too big to fail.”

In 2004, an investment fund demanded that Globo file bankruptcy in the United States. It was then that the debt restructuring became an urgent matter. At around the time, the Marinho brothers sold off their shares in a number of repeaters and affiliates.

A supervisor of mine at the time, in an effort to convince me that the bosses were committed to jobs and salaries, said that “the poor guys” had had to give up the family helicopter — as if they had a choice between making this sacrifice or doing away with their human resources. Tell me another one … Continue reading

Celso Schröder on Veja: Bordering on the Criminal

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Source: Viomundo | Sul21

Date: May 28, 2012

Subject: Interview with PENAJ president — reelected in 2013 –Celso Schröder

Background: Evidence that Veja magazine allowed a criminal suspect to use its cover story to attack its accusers, in exchange for political favors

Head: FENAJ Will Not Protect Criminal Journalists

Translation: C. Brayton

A CPI conducted by the National Congress that seeks to investigate the influence of numbers racketeer Carlinhos Cachoeira among public officials has awakened a debate as unexpected as it is necessary: The relation of media with the halls of power,  political  as well as  economic.

The Polícia Federal has identified nearly 200 phone calls between the director of the Veja agency in Brasilia, Policarpo Júnior, and the scheme mounted by the racketeer [Charlie Waterfall]. The publication of these wiretap transcripts show that Cachoeira [Waterfall] often had a determinative say what was covered by the Abril weekly, which allowed itself to be caught up in Cachoeira’s political intrigues with Senator Demóstenes Torres (ex-DEM).

Given these facts, some lawmakers have demanded that Policarpo be summoned to testify in the CPI, even though commission member Odair Cunha (PT-MG) had already rejected a demand for information on the incident.

In the view of Celso Schröder, president of National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj),  the magazine ought to explain what guided its coverage in this episode. “Veja must explain itself to the Brazilian reader. It has to explain how it exercises the role of journalism, given the shallowness of this coverage, its lack of commitment to and irresponsibility regarding the long-standing ethical and technical principles of the profession,” Schroder said.

In this interview with Sul21, Schröder assesses the conduct of the magazine in this and other episodes and defends the development of a regulatory framework for communications.

Sul21 – What can the CPI of do Cachoeira tell us about the Brazilian media?

Celso Schröder – The CPI is showing us that the media is an institution just like any other and must submit itself to public principles to the extent that its raw material — information — is public in nature.  The less public this institution is, the more beholden it becomes to the private interests of its leadership, the  less committed it is to the nature of good journalilsm.  Like any institution, the media is not beyond good and evil, or the precepts of the democratic rule of law and the public interest.  From a politial perspective, a Veja has confused the public with the private. From the journalistic point of view, it has committed an unforgiveable sin: It has established a promiscuous relationship between reporter and source.

It is not just the reporter, but the organization as  a whole and its leadership, who have opted to behave in a technically dubious and ethical unacceptable way.  Every journalist learns during the first week of classes that the source is a part of the story only to the extent that it is treated as a source. The source has his or her own interests, and rather than let these contaminate the information being supplied, the journalist should act as a critical filter. The source, at the same time, provides the reporting with credibility and contributes to the plurality of the story. If it is not filtered, however, it may also contaminate the content.

Sul21 – At what point did Policarpo Júnior and Cachoeira violate the boundaries between reporter and source?

Schroder – Policarpo did not treat Cachoeira as a source. The problem is when a journalist or news organization assigns someone the role of a single, exclusive source, negotiating directly with that source the content and dimensions of the article and, in the case of Veja, committing the magazine to an act driven by partisan politics [and organized crime.]

This is a sin that Veja has been committing for a long time now. The Brazilian opposition  is very fragile. Lacking a strong opposition, the press assumes this role, but in the process completely distorts its mission.  The press is not obliged to assume this role. Society does not view [the world] through partisan lenses, as Veja seems to believe.

But Veja has recently produced some of the most shameful moments in Brazilian journalism.  When an attempt was  made to sneak into the hotel room of former minister José Dirceu (PT) by a Veja reporter, I wrote an article saying that if Watergate was the high point of world journalism, Veja”s behavior was the exact opposite — an anti-Watergate.

Little did I know that we would soon see something even worse. This was not the individual act of a reporter who lacked critical judgment. It was the premeditated and systematic act of a news organization whose chief dispatched his reporter to perform an immoral act that comes dangerously close to being criminal.

Sul21 – Can the same be said of the episode involving Policarpo Júnior and Cachoeira?

Schröder – At the  moment, that story is still coming together. This is a magazine that risks losing the raw material of its existence: its credibility.  It strikes me as suicidal,  especially from the point of a view of a company in the news business — unless Veja is counting on other means of financing, or has already received subsidies from a mechanism not involving credibility and public relations.  We lack concrete facts about its financial condition, but all signs are that at this moment Veja is financially changing  course.  The moral compromise and unscrupulous alignment of the magazine with a particular worldview makes one think of Veja as a publication with its hand out in exchange for services rendered to the political establishment that finances it.

Sul21 – But the magazine has had periods of greater commitment to proper journalism. What changed?

Schroder – Veja has long given signs that it does not care about its journalistic reputation. Veja was fundamental to the redemocratization of Brazil. It was an example to emulate for journalists of various generations and was led by men like Mino Carta. After a certain time, however, the magazine began aligning itself with a particular social group. Obviously, the editors of the magazine have their own opinions and play a conservative role in society.  There was nothing wrong with that so long as it expressed its editorial policy clearly.  Now, it limits its informative journalism to a space of discussion with counterpoints.

I am wracking my brains to translate this last sentence. Perhaps the yellow pages interview provides an example: the interviews often come off as scripted and softballed …

Elementary rules of journalism have been abandoned by this magazine, which was once so important to the transition to democracy and the development of journalism. It has degenerated into a negative example whose failings need to be confronted.

Sul21 – How do you view the possibility of summoning Policarpo Júnior to testify before the CPI?

Schroder – I have seen proposals in that vein from some politicians, such as Senator Ana Amélia Lemos (PP-RS), who says investigating the role played by Policarpo in this incident represents an attack on the press. But journalists are not above the law and cannot be held to be above and beyond republican values.  If he is summoned by the CPI, he has the right not to attend. If he attends, he has the right to claim reporter-source confidentiality.  But the summons in iitself represents no threat.

Veja owes Brazil an explanation. It must explain how it goes about doing journalistic work based on these mere ideological inclinations, this lack of commitment  and irresponsibility with regard to longstanding technical and ethical rules of journalism.   It is essential that we ask these questions. Journalists and academics have an obligation to question these practices.

Sul21 – In this light, would  it not seem valid to summon the president of Abril, Roberto Civita?

Schroder – That seems to me to be a loss of focus … In the CPI, Veja is [only] one of the topics to be covered. The main problem is the corruption that ties Cachoeira to the Brazilian parliament. A statement by Civita would generate a debate that would shift the focus of the CPI awat from its essential tasks.  There is no doubt that Veja praticed poor journalism and should be made to explain itself. The CPI has wiretaps of magazine employees talking with the numbers racketeer.  So let them be summoned. But bringing the chief of Veja’s Brasilia branch in to answer questions is no trivial matter.

Sul21 – Criticisms of Veja tend to be answered with arguments that praise its own, supposedly investigative, journalism while firing back with various charges of corruption [against critics]. The Policarpo-Cachoeira tapes, however, reveal the workings of the machinery behind some of these [character assassination ] attacks.

Schroder – There is a certain sensation in the air that we are living through the most corrupt period in our history.  This is far from being true. Consider our history and see whether or not we have functioning democratic institutions.  The press plays a democratic role by providing oversight of corruption scandals. The problem is that in certain sectors, where these charges are formulated, an absolute value is attributed to the concept of corruption.  In the Veja case, the worst of all was that magazine itself was directly involved.  This was not just bad journalism.  There were dangerous signs of self-enrichment – which need not necessarily be financial in nature. It may come in the form of an exchange of favors, in which Veja furnished Cachoeira, not with a journalistic report, but rather the script of a political campaign.

[It acts as  though] it were the political party that its opposition cannot be. If the press engages in such practices, it returns to standards not seen since the XVIII Century. If this is so, let the magazine change its name and openly assume its political alignment and partisan coverage. These days, as it presents itself as a space for the sharing information, Veja should reflect on the complexity and diversity of the Brazilian public sector and civil society. If it refuses, it is undermining journalism and bordering on a illegality which will have to be investigated.  Fenaj will not protect criminal journalists.

Sul21  – The revelation of this modus operandi practiced at Veja is generating an almost unprecedented debate: More and more, the  media is debating the media. Carta Capital magazine has dedicate several front pages on the topic and Record has broadcast a report. This is common in other countries, but to date has not caught on in Brazil.

Schroder – In the 1980s, when Fenaj proposed a programmatic support for the democratization of communication, we began with the awareness that the democratization of Brazil had yet to catch up with the media.  The Brazilian media system, unlike other institutions, had not undergone democratization.  We have five articles in the Constitution on this topic that have never been implemented. For 30 years we have mounted various initiatives to attempt to structure this debate. The basic logic of regulation exists in every nation in the world.

In Brazil, however, we face resistance from a powerful media that succeeded in electing the first two post-democratization presidents.  Sarney and Collor are among the politicians who owe the Globo network so very much.  Globo allies, advocates and concessionaires have been elected to our congress, such as Antonio Carlos Magalhães, who doubled as Minister of Communications. The media is not just concentrated, in the sense of suffering from monopolies. It is completely bereft of public control.  It is completely convinced that freedom of expression is a right exclusive to media owners. If the Constitution says that freedom of expression belongs to the people, the role of the media is to ensure this right.

Sul21 – How mch progress have you made in this direction since then?

Schroder – We had spent 30 years debating this theme by the time Confecom (National Conference on Communication, December 2009) took place.  Fenaj has successfully implanted the idea that the debate needs to be a public one. The media refuses to report on the debate, however, calling it an attempt to impose censorship.  At first, Confecom had the support of the media companies. I went with representatives of RBS and Globo to speak with federal ministers Helio Costa (Communications),  Tarso Genro (Justice) and Luiz Dulci (presidencial secretary-general) with our proposal for the event.

The companies believed at the time that telephony was threatening their business models.  During Confecom, however, Globo and its many allies attempted once again to sabotage the debate.  Conservatism is in the DNA of Globo. Globo is accustomed to believe that there should be no rules regulating its business. It is accustomed to autocratically  imposing its views and is therefore existentially opposed to any regulation.

At that moment, when Globo walked out on Confecom, it was clear that it is impossible to count on these media owners to support any attempt to construct a public, humanistic, national  communications policy, guided by cultural, democratic and educational principles. All that interests them is the rapid growth of revenues.

Sul21 – The editorial in O Globo defending Veja: is this a sign of collusion among traditional media owners?

Schroder – The principle uniting the two publications is the same adopted by SIP — the Interamerican Press Association: “The best media law is no media law at all.”

Media companies aligned with the idea that they cannot be held legally accountable  do so to protect themselves. Dressed up in the mantle of a freedom of expression convenient to their interests and businesses, they band together to shut the public out.

But journalism is the fruit of a professional activity, not of a business. Journalism is not ad sales. Essentially, journalism is the work of journalists. For this reason, it is the journalist’s obligation to speak out every time the profession is marred by misconduct, as occurred with Veja. It should also be the obligation of media companies, to the extent that they themselves are not involved in this type of conduct.  When the media owner or his agent becomes the accomplice of their source and covers up these practices, they align themselves with criminality.  These companies compete for market share, but mutually protect  “what is considered essential” in their attempt to refute the idea that their work is subject to the public interest, like any other.

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