Following accusations of corruption involving Carlos Lupi, Brazilian minister of Labor and Employment, Lupi ordered the stories being investigated by the media to be leaked on one of the ministry's blogs, reported Terra.
On Nov. 9, the ministry released on its blog e-mails from reporters with their questions, many private, regarding their investigation, according to the newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
The newspaper Estado de São Paulo learned from an adviser in the ministry that the order came from Lupi to publish reporters' questions and responses to them on the same day they were asked. According to the ministry, the policy was designed to "bring more transparency to the press' questions and represent the ministry's responses."
The strategy is not original. It was also used by Petrobrás when the state oil company came under Congressional investigation in 2009. But, after receiving criticism and accusations of breaking the confidentiality between reporters and sources, the company stopped the practice.
Media groups denounced the practice. In a statement, the National Association of Newspapers said it was "evident that the minister's purpose was to constrain the free exercise of journalism."
The Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism said the policy "harms the practice of journalism that, in good faith, keeps an eye on the government to verify information or hears a dispute to conduct investigative reporting."
President of the National Federation of Journalists, Celso Schröder, also criticized the policy, saying it was "an awful way to deal with their discomfort in relation to the press," reported Folha.