Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The press is privately owned and newspapers have played a central role in exposing official corruption. There are dozens of daily newspapers and numerous other publications throughout the country. The monopoly on broadcast media by TV Globo has been challenged by its rival, Sistema Brasiliero de Televisao (STB). A 1967 press law prescribes prison terms for libel, but is rarely enforced. In numerous incidents this year, state courts prohibited newspapers from publishing stories seen as damaging to government or public officials. Some papers refrained from publishing the controversial articles. One newspaper that published a critical article of a local judge was forced to pay a large penalty, causing the newspaper to close down. Another weekly newspaper's issue was seized. A television network charged with libel was also prohibited from releasing an interview. In a positive development, a bill before Congress would transfer cases of crimes against journalists to federal jurisdiction, to guarantee fairer trials. One journalist was murdered the day before he was supposed to testify in a criminal defamation suit. Police are cooperating in the investigation. It has been reported that military and secret service personnel have been using fake press cards to spy on opposition and civil groups, thus putting honest journalists in danger and tainting their legitimacy.