Analysis: As Brazil cracks down on fake news, Bolsonaro’s new move is straight out of Trump’s playbook
By JANE CAMP | April 3, 2018 | 2:17 pm
President Michel Temer of Brazil arrives at the presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Monday, April 2, 2018. (AP Photo)
The news that a group of Brazilian journalists are facing up to five years in prison for publishing misinformation about the president’s health, is nothing less than a major victory for Bolsonaro’s government.
While Bolsonaro’s government is known for attacking independent citizens and critical voices, this is its first major move against a free press.
Bolsonaro, like Trump, has a long record of attacking the press. Trump regularly uses the phrase “fake news” to discredit journalists.
And in Brazil, Bolsonaro — who is known to regularly attack his critics — has been quick to attack the press even more.
In response to journalists covering the president’s recent hospital admission, Bolsonaro’s attorney general sent to the news media an order banning the dissemination of information about Bolsonaro’s health. He also called for the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo to publish an article questioning the president’s health.
Despite the president’s public support for Bolsonaro’s candidacy, some feel the right-wing leader has already decided to attack the press.
According to the New York Times, Bolsonaro’s government is pushing to impose tough restrictions on critical press freedom, and the decision to launch criminal and administrative cases against journalists for reporting the truth is an act of intimidation.
These new restrictions on the press are part of Bolsonaro’s authoritarian crackdown against both the left and the independent citizens, an era that Trump and Bolsonaro both live in.
Bolsonaro has been quick to attack the press in the past
Bolsonaro has taken a strong stance against independent journalists, labeling them “terrorists” and comparing them to terrorists. In 2015, he made these remarks at a rally supporting an anti-communist movement in Brazil.