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Reporter Carly Falcão forced to delete footage of police attack on football fan

(ABRAJI/IFEX) - Reporter Carly Falcão of the news group O Sistema Jornal do Commercio de Comunicação (SJCC) in the city of Recife, Pernambuco State, was threatened by a member of the military riot police on 5 April 2009 while she was covering a football game.

Falcão was filming a policeman attacking a man in the crowd of Santa Cruz fans. The policeman approached her and introduced himself as a military officer. "He told me that this (the fan) was the kind of person who turned into a rapist or robber and that I should delete that video or something bad could happen to me," the reporter told ABRAJI.

Falcão said that she was intimidated and deleted the video while the policeman stood by waiting. According to the reporter, after the policeman left, the director of the Santa Cruz fan club said that the policemen had used pepper spray during the fight.

SJCC did not file an incident report. In a statement, the group noted, "(The SJCC) knows that the best way to confront acts of violence is to practice good journalism. The impartiality that leads our journalism is the best answer to any attempt at censorship or serious threat to the freedom of speech."

ABRAJI contacted the Pernambuco Department of Social Defense and the public relations department of Pernambuco's military police but did not receive a reply.

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