Attack on the Press Shows Bolsonaro's Authoritarian and Undemocratic Disposition, Law Experts Say

On Tuesday morning (5), the president told reporters to shut up and attacked Folha

São Paulo

When Bolsonaro told reporters to shut up and verbally attacked Folha, his undemocratic conduct crossed a line into the criminal sphere, law experts say.

Entities that represent journalism and scholars on authoritarianism also see a rupture of democracy in the speech of the president.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro reacts as he leaves Alvorada Palace, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brasilia, Brazil May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino - REUTERS

In the morning, the president appeared at the door of the Palácio da Alvorada with a copy of the printed edition of Folha, and, referring to the headline "New Federal Police director takes and accepts Bolsonaro's request," said he did not interfere in the corporation and called the newspaper "scoundrel."

Asked about the topic by a reporter for the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, he said: "Shut up, I didn't ask anything." "Folha de S.Paulo, a scoundrel and liar," he said. Then asked by Folha, the president shouted again: "Shut up, shut up".

On the internet, the president's manifestation was compared to a 1983 interview, during the military dictatorship, with General Newton Cruz. The general told reporter Honório Dantas, who was questioning democratic setbacks, to shut up.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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