Brazilian journalist ordered to pay $95k fine to state governor for accusations in his blog

The State Court of Goiânia on Tuesday ordered journalist Luiz Carlos Bordoni to pay a $95,000 fine for damages against governor of Goiás, Marconi Perillo, reported news portal Terra.

The judge also ruled that Bordoni must remove all his interviews with Perillo and the statements against the politician from his blog. His website will be suspended and Bordoni will have to pay a daily fine of $250, according to information from the advisory council of the Court of Goiás.

According to the judge, the journalist failed to support the accusations he made against Perillo on his blog. Bordoni accused him of using money from businessman Carlinhos Cachoeira -- currently in prison on charges of corruption and links to drug trafficking -- to pay off the debt from his 2010 political campaign. The accusation made national and international headlines.

Bordoni “published inconclusive news, without proof to support his allegations," said the judge in the sentence.

Bordoni is a well known journalist and radio personality in Goiás who worked on some of Perillo's campaigns, according to UOL. He said he will appeal the decision and take the case to Brazil's National Justice Council if necessary.

"It was simply orchestrated. They wanted a safe way out for the governor and made me a liar in this story. But things won't stay like this, the truth will prevail," Bordoni said in a phone interview with UOL.

The courts system in Brazil has become an effective tool for censoring media organizations -- especially small ones -- and silencing criticism from journalists and bloggers. A timeline from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas shows that, in 2012 alone, there were 16 instances where the courts were used to censor journalists.


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.