Alexandre Garcia becomes the target of Lula’s “Ministry of Truth”

Alexandre Garcia becomes the target of Lula’s “Ministry of Truth”

Alexandre Garcia is the newest member of the PT government’s list of enemies. After demanding an investigation into the possible responsibility of the federal government in the tragedy that hit Rio Grande do Sul (RS) last week, the journalist with more than five decades of career became the target of an investigation by the recently created National Prosecutor’s Office of the Union of Defense of Democracy (PNDD), a type of censorship body to identify and punish government critics, which has been called the “Ministry of Truth”.

The PNDD is subordinate to the Attorney General’s Office (AGU), which is commanded by Jorge Rodrigo Araújo Messias, known as “Bessias”.

When commenting on the tragedy in RS on the program “Oeste Sem Filtro”, on the 8th, Alexandre Garcia said that “the rain was the original cause [da tragédia]. But during the PT government, contrary to what environmental measurements recommended, three small dams were built that apparently opened the floodgates at the same time.”

The journalist then argued that the authorities should investigate the government’s responsibility for worsening the tragedy that left 46 people dead.

After the repercussion of the journalist’s speech, the Union’s attorney general took to social media to announce that he had ordered the “immediate initiation of proceedings against the disinformation campaign promoted” by Garcia.

Jorge Messias also said that Garcia’s statement is “unacceptable” and that the government will “seek accountability” for the journalist. Any measures to be adopted against Garcia have not yet been disclosed by the AGU.

After the statement by the Attorney General of the Union (AGU), the Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, also took a position on the case, although he did not mention Garcia directly. Without citing any provision of current legislation, Dino said that “fake news is a crime” and stated that the Federal Police “will adopt the measures provided for by law”.

Dino’s post was framed by the “community notes” feature on X (formerly Twitter), for bringing false information that fake news is a criminal offense in Brazil. “In Brazil, there is no specific law that defines and punishes the creation and sharing of fake news, but depending on the content and the damage they cause, they can fall under other crimes, such as slander, defamation, insult, racism, homophobia, among others”, states the note, produced by the network’s user community.

The PT movement against the journalist occurs at the same time that President Lula is facing criticism for not having visited the region affected by the tragedy.

Garcia says he only asked for transparency and investigation

In a video released on his YouTube channel on Monday (11), Alexandre Garcia stated that his objective was to demand transparency and ask for an investigation into the case, and not to launch accusations. The journalist, who has a career spanning more than 50 years, highlighted that he is a defender of democracy.

“I am very happy that this is forwarded to the National Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of Democracy, because we are together in defense of democracy. Every day, here – you who follow me know this –, I defend the values ​​of democracy, the power that emanates from the people, the nation greater than the State, the State to serve the nation, independence, autonomy of powers, the primacy of the Legislature, due legal process, the natural judge, the right of defense, freedom of expression and transparency “, he stated.

The journalist highlighted that the mayors of the municipalities in the Rio das Antas region raised, last week, the doubt about a possible influence of the facilities of the Rio das Antas Energy Complex (CERAN) on the floods. He stated that he only reproduced the concern raised by the authorities and expressed the opinion that it was necessary to investigate the case.

In the video, Garcia also read the note sent by CERAN in response to the mayors – which is not conclusive about the effects of the facilities on the floods. “If I had the official note that night, I would read the company’s official note,” said the journalist.

Fake news is not a crime, and AGU is not a government defense body, says jurist

The legal persecution of Alexandre Garcia is unconstitutional, according to Alessandro Chiarottino, doctor in Constitutional Law from USP.

He emphasizes that fake news is not a crime in Brazil, and that the AGU cannot be used to defend the government’s interests.

“There is no way to legally persecute someone for fake news in Brazil, as this is a non-existent criminal type. What could be done – but not in this specific case – is to frame the individual in the crime of insult, slander or defamation (which, I repeat , do not apply to the case in question). It would also be possible to civilly prosecute the individual for intentionally causing damage to property or image; but, in this case, it would be necessary to prove the damage”, explains the jurist.

Chiarottino also recalls the Press Law (Law 5,250/67), which regulates freedom of expression for journalists, in addition to the constitutional provisions on the same topic.

Another questionable point, according to him, is the use of the AGU to persecute a journalist and political opponent. “The AGU should be reserved for the institutional interests of the Federal Union, and not for the government’s defense”, he says.

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