Glenn Greenwald launches The Intercept Brasil in Portuguese to cover Brazilian social and political news

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  • August 2, 2016

By Teresa Mioli and Heloisa Aruth Sturm

Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist known for reports on the National Security Agency (NSA), launched The Intercept Brasil, a country-specific version of the site he co-founded in 2014.

In his announcement of the site, Greenwald cited a dearth of diverse media options in Brazil, and the success of The Intercept’s reporting in that country, as reasons for the launch.

“Our articles about Brazil -- both in English and Portuguese -- have consistently been among The Intercept’s most-read stories, and our Brazilian readership has grown rapidly,” wrote Greenwald, now based in Rio de Janeiro. “It quickly became apparent to us that there is a hunger among Brazilians for alternative forms of reporting.”

The Intercept Brasil features news, in Portuguese, on the Brazilian “political, economic, social and cultural debates,” Greenwald wrote. The site also will be populated with Intercept content that is translated to Portuguese.

The site already is able to feature two highly-sought interviews with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff (from May 2016) and former President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva (April 2016). Greenwald said the initial focus of The Intercept Brasil will be on the vote for Rousseff’s potential impeachment and the Olympic Games being hosted in Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to the team of Brazilian journalists and editors, the site is also pulling from freelance journalists and independent media outlets. Greenwald also noted a continued emphasis on source protection.

The platform provides a guide for sources who wants to contribute to the reports by sending information in a confidential and secure manner.

“The Intercept Brasil has two goals: to enhance public understanding of this vital country, and to provide a platform to great Brazilian journalists and writers to provide essential information to their fellow citizens about the political, social and economic debates in their country,” Greenwald wrote.

The Intercept, and now The Intercept Brasil, are part of a massive investment of USD $250 million made in 2013 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar to create the digital company First Look Media.

Soon after the company was formed, former journalists at First Look Media started giving accounts of bad management and editorial interference at the company. But then media observers, like Benjamin Mullin at Poynter and Shan Wang at Nieman Lab, respectively, noted a “productive silence” and “stability” with new editors and exposés and new projects to make First Look Media a “full-fledged digital media company and studio.”

Greenwald became known internationally in 2013 when he, Laura Poitras and other reporters broke news in The Guardian and The Washington Post about NSA global surveillance programs. The stories were based on leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden. The stories would later be recognized with the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Greenwald is known for having strong opinions on politics in both the U.S. and his adopted home of Brazil.

In October 2013, then-New York Times columnist and former executive editor Bill Keller engaged Greenwald in a discussion about impartiality, subjectivity and the role of journalism.

Greenwald, who was co-founding editor of The Intercept along with Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, said “all journalism is a form of activism. Every journalistic choice necessarily embraces highly subjective assumptions — cultural, political or nationalistic — and serves the interests of one faction or another.”

The Intercept has extensively covered the current political crisis in Brazil. Greenwald himself has been a point of contact for numerous U.S.-based media outlets on what is happening in that country. For example, outlets like CNNFusion or Democracy Now!, turned to Greenwald for commentary on Rousseff’s potential impeachment. He has been a vocal critic about the role of elite politicians and media in Roussef’s impeachment.

To Democracy Now!, Greenwald described in May what was happening in the country as the “utter dismantling of a democracy, which is exactly what is taking place, by the richest and most powerful people in the society using their media organs that masquerade as journalistic outlets but which are in fact propaganda channels for a tiny number of extremely rich families.”

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.