Brazilian senator sues journalist and news website, prompting cries of censorship

Brazilian senator Delcídio do Amaral, elected by the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, is suing the news website Terra and reporter Italo Milhomem Santos for roughly $63,000 for publishing supposedly untrue information, according to Portal Imprensa.

The article by Santos, published May 24 by Terra, includes audio files that mention the senator and Operation Uragano by federal police, responsible for the investigation of a supposed scheme of diverting resources.

In a statement published on his website, Delcídio denied any irregularities and said the Terra story was an attack by his political adversaries, according to Terra.

According to Santos, the climate of censorship and fear prevents powerful politicians from being denounced by local media. "The story is being censored in Mato Grosso do Sul, and because of this, I could publish it only on Terra. All local journalists had access to the story, but political fear and pressure prevent the exericise of free journalism," Santos said, as quoted by Portal Imprensa.

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.