Brazilian journalist ordered to pay $15,000 in moral damages to network news director

By Isabela Fraga

Luiz Carlos Azenha, journalist for the Brazilian news network Rede Record and editor of the blog Viomundo, was ordered to pay nearly $15,000 in moral damages to TV Global's news and sports director, Ali Kamel, reported the website Consultor Jurídico.

Azenha accused Kamel of participating in an attempt by Globo to tamper with the results of a voter poll during the 2006 presidential elections, which was called a "defamatory campaign" against the news director.

On Friday, March 29, the journalist posted on Viomundo that in accordance with the court's ruling he would stop editing the blog. "Today, [after] a conflict between unequals was taken to court, we are doomed to a slow and gradual suffocation," Azenha lamented, comparing his blog to the large Globo network.

On Monday, April 1, however, Azenha reneged on his promise to end the blog and announced he would reorganize it. The journalist will step down as editor and become a contributing reporter.

This is not the first time Kamel has succeeded securing moral damages. In February, the television host Paulo Henrique Amorim was ordered to pay almost $25,000 in damages after calling Kamel a racist, a ruling that was preceded by an identical one in 2011, reported O Globo. In July 2012, blogger Rodrigo Vianna was ordered to pay the news director nearly $25,000 after alleging on his blog Escrevinhador that Kamel had acted in pornographic films in his youth.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.