CPJ disappointed by Brazilian court's decision against radio journalist Gomes
April 8, Brasilia: A Brazilian court last week had decided to uphold the criminal defamation conviction of radio journalist Fabiano Gomes da Silva.
The court in the northern state of Paraíba on March 29 had unanimously upheld a lower court's decision to find Gomes, a host on Rádio 98 FM, guilty of defamation and calúnia, (falsely accusing someone of illegal acts).
The Committee to Protect Journalists in a statement issued on Friday, said that it is disappointed by the decision issued by a Brazilian court last week to uphold the criminal defamation conviction of radio journalist Fabiano Gomes da Silva.
CPJ also stated that according to a statement detailing the ruling. Three judges unanimously upheld the conviction made on June 18, 2015, the journalist's lawyer, Bruno Lopes, told CPJ in an emailed response to questions."The nine-month and 10-day jail sentence was commuted to community service and a fine that the court will calculate at a later date," Lopes said.
The court statement also said that radio host Gomes "clearly and evidently" directed insults at Eduardo de Oliveira Carlos da Silva, the proprietor of Grupo São Braz, a conglomerate of companies that includes car dealers, coffee and snack makers, three local television stations, and the newspaper Jornal de Paraíba. The insults were made with "the intention of offending his honor," said José Guedes Cavalcanti Neto, one of the judges who was cited in the statement.
The defamation case comes from comments Gomes made on his talk radio show "Correio Debate," which were broadcast on August 19, 2011, reports said."Although we are relieved that Fabiano Gomes da Silva will not spend time in jail, the conviction for defamation should never have happened in the first place," said CPJ Senior Program Coordinator for the Americas Carlos Lauría. "We call on Brazilian authorities to bring the country's laws into line with inter-American standards on free expression by eliminating all criminal penalties for defamation."
Gomes and his radio station did not immediately respond to CPJ's request for comment, sent via email and social media. On March 30 however, he issued a statement on his blog defending his reporting and vowing not to be silenced. "I repeat what I said in court: I did not defame him or injure him," Gomes wrote. "What I said I said publicly about an entrepreneur, not a citizen, a son, a husband or a father."
The Oslo Times