terça-feira, agosto 16, 2005


Violência e Liberdade de Imprensa no Rio

O texto abaixo é uma resposta a perguntas da jornalista britânica Jo Wright, que atua como correspondente de um jornal sul-africano e freelancer da BBC.
Ela pretende escrever sobre o impacto da violência sobre a liberdade de imprensa, a comunidade e suas lideranças locais. Quer descobrir o impacto do assassinato de Tim Lopes e eventuais mudanças subseqüentes nas redações.

I believe violence has a significant impact on press freedom in Rio currently. The fact that journalists cannot enter a favela without a direct or indirect (through a community leader, usually connected to the crimminals) "authorization" of the local drug dealers certainly limitates our work.
It is too risky and we know we might actually get killed.
Society and especially the favela population are most affected because what happens inside their communities is restricted to the place; that leads to keeping the status quo. The "ghettos" are usually commanded by brutal young men, who rule small armies ranging from 20 to maybe 150 men, many of them with assault rifles, handguns and even hand grenades. The community is in a sort of a prison. Oppression and threat brings the communities to a "law of silence", which in the short term prevents the factual truth to be printed; in the long run, it allows tyrany to persist.
Coverage is normally occasional, limited to violent events and police actions (often criticized for their brutality and disrespect to civil and human rights).
Reporters have had a hard time trying to find out what really took place and are frequently limited to police analysis and quotes, which are certainly partial in many cases. In my application for the World Press Institute fellowship I said that violence is a menace to the freedom of expression in Rio.
It's been like that for a while, but it certainly has increased since the murder of Tim Lopes. We started hearing ironic comments when in a favela, even from locals not connected to the "movimento", such as: "Gonna become another Tim Lopes!"
I believe that a sort of respect and psycological barrier towards journalists was suddenly erased, and their "fear" of threatening a press member - if it is still not right to say is extinguished - certainly decreased, despite they know they can get in trouble by doing anything to us.
The murder of Tim Lopes was certainly a turning point, as well as made newsrooms rethink the chances and safety of reporters in field. Security became an important issue of discussion, and some media organization took effective measures in order to guarantee the safety of their reporters. O Globo and Extra got a couple of armoured cars, with bulletproof windows for favela "incursions". Folha de S.Paulo got bulletproof vests. In most cases, unless there's a shooting - and if possible - nobody wears them, except shortly after the murder. Most newsrooms give express orders to their journalists not to enter a favela in a critical situation, but it's hard to predict when that is and when a shooting will take place, and where to be safe. News is there, tough, so many have trouble not taking chances. Most community leaders are somehow and in different levels connected to local crimminals - it varies from tolerance to "political support" in internal elections and conivence and effective partnership, as some tappings recently showed in Rocinha. Until some years ago, community leaders had a> certain authonomy and could manage to operate separately from crimminals; I am afraid it doesn't happen very often anymore. I believe there's a book by a guy, maybe an anthropologist, who lived in Rocinhathat really goes into that topic.
The arrest of Maluco was an effective and necessary action of the Police, but it does not chance the frightening current picture: there are at least 30 well-armed and dangerous gangs commanded by violent and drug addicted teenagers and young adults in the city. 30 Malucos. Apart from minor gangs, equally wild and dangerous. It hasn't gotten to phone or personal life threats, as far as I know, but reporters might face danger every time they go to a favela. I believe it's > like being in a certain kind of war, and there's no logic or rationality, concerning those crimminals, as facts and all sorts of crimes towards citizens have shown. The problem the press faces now in Rio is not restricted to us, it is actually the major national concern, and easy solutions have proven not to be effective. It is an endemic social problem, fed by the absence of state > presence, lack of public policies focusing the poorer areas and population and especially the favelas. A culture of violence reigns in those places; crimminals are many times seen as "cool". They have the money, the power, the girls. They can do whatever they want and that's more than most uneducated can have. Most of them either get killed or end up in jail. Kids and girls feel attracted to this illusive power. The whole culture is related to violence: music, language, playgames. Obviously, the lack of good public education is in the core of the problem and needs to be addressed urgently. O DIA journalists were involved in three recent> violent episodes of violence, related to coverages.
1. A team was in a police helicopter when it was targeted by crimminals from > Morro da Providência. The helicopter did not go back and journalists were under intense fire. Eventually, a police squad surrendered and supposedly - very likely - executed the two surrundered men. The photographer managed to shoot pictures and realized he had gotten both pictures of the men alive with their handas behind their backs and photos of policemen bringing the bodies down minutes later. The pictures were awarded with the Photography Esso Award (the most prestigious in the country). The photographer is Carlos Moraes. The reporter was Marcia Brasil.

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