Freedom of the Press Foundation: Our statement on Brazil's outrageous charges against journalist Glenn Greenwald
The New York Times reported this morning that Glenn Greenwald, award-winning investigative journalist and a founding member of our board of directors, has been charged in Brazil with “cybercrimes” for reporting on leaked cellphone messages showing widespread corruption of Brazilian public officials.
This outrageous attack on press freedom is clearly an intimidation tactic from embarrassed prosecutors. It must not be tolerated. Greenwald and his reporting at The Intercept Brazil have been the subject of frequent verbal attacks from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and even a police investigation — conduct that has already been declared a violation of Brazil’s constitution by the country’s Supreme Court. Today’s charges represent a flagrant disregard for that court order.
January 21, 2020
Freedom of the Press Foundation
When Computer Crimes Are Used To Silence Journalists: Why EFF Stands Against the Prosecution of Glenn Greenwald
This week, prosecutors in Brazil filed a criminal complaint against Glenn Greenwald, an internationally lauded journalist best known for publishing leaked documents detailing the NSA’s mass surveillance. Greenwald’s prosecution is an attempt to use computer crime law to silence an investigative reporter who exposed deep-seated government corruption. Sadly, this isn’t the first such effort and, unless we stop this drift to criminalizing journalism, it likely won’t be the last.
Since those articles were published, Greenwald and his family have dealt with legal threats (including a statement from President Bolsonaro that Greenwald could "do jail time"), death threats, and homophobic persecution.
Unfortunately, legal prosecution and character attacks are familiar tools used to silence investigative journalists who expose corruption. The use of cybercrime laws to do so, however, is relatively new. This case is garnering special international attention in part because the current charges fly in the face of a decision by the Supreme Court of Brazil last year, in which the Court preemptively halted investigations against Greenwald. That decision upheld the rights of journalists to communicate directly with their sources, and stated that Greenwald's acts deserved constitutional protection—regardless of the content published, or its impact on government interests.
In an apparent attempt to circumvent the ruling, the charges now include “intruding computer devices."
January 24, 2020
Electronic Frontier Foundation