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Ruling party's resolution inflammatory toward certain media following critical reporting; "ominous", says RSF

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is a 2 August 2007 RSF letter to Brazilian President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and Workers' Party president Ricardo Berzoini:

To President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva and
Ricardo Berzoini, president of the Workers' Party

Dear Sirs,

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the consequences of a resolution passed by the Workers' Party (PT) national executive on 31 July 2007 encouraging party officials and supporters to oppose "the major offensive by the right and their media allies against the party and government". Gleber Naine, the party's communication chief, mentioned TV Globo and daily newspapers "Correio Braziliense", "O Estado de São Paulo", "O Globo" and "A Folha de São Paulo" as "playing the opposition's game as never before".

The resolution seems to us ill-conceived and untimely. The privately-owned media criticised President Lula and his government when he came to power but relations have since improved. The media outlets mentioned have also criticised opposition politicians for corruption, abuse of power and fraud.

Just before the October 2006 general elections, reports of PT members trying to buy forged documents to smear opposition candidates led to reprisals against the media by party activists. Other parties have also been involved in abusing and physically attacking the media. Partisanship cannot be an excuse for such behaviour.

The PT executive's resolution follows wide media coverage of protests after the 17 July plane crash at Sao Paulo's Congonhas airport and of the crowd's jeering of President Lula when he opened the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro a few days before the crash. Is this the same as systematic criticism of the authorities? Should the media have not reported these events? Can it be blamed for the public discontent and anger caused by the crash?

Reporters Without Borders appeals for calm and hopes your wisdom will prevail. The party resolution is ominous, unworthy of a democratic party and can only make things worse. It should be dropped.

Respectfully,

Robert Ménard
Secretary-General

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