Journalists and radio broadcasters at Empresa Brasileira de Comunicação (Brazil Communication Company, or EBC), a federal public agency, protested on March 20 against direction given by company managers to reduce coverage of the murders of Marielle Franco, a city councilor for Rio de Janeiro, and her driver Anderson Gomes, both killed in a March 4 shooting.
The deaths of Franco and Gomes have prompted a series of protests throughout Brazil and in other countries, such as Portugal, UN, France and Germany, among others. The murders and resulting protests have also been covered internationally by newspapers such as the Washington Post, New York Times and The Guardian.
According to Metrópoles, on March 16, newsroom manager Roberto Cordeiro of Agência Brasil -- a national public news agency that is part of EBC along with Rádio Nacional and TV Brasil -- sent an email to the team requesting to reduce material about the death of councilor Marielle Franco. According to him, these tributes of the PSol [party of the councilwoman] are meant to take advantage of the moment. Or other repercussions of that kind. We should focus on the investigations and what the authorities say.”
On March 19, the executive manager of Agência Brasil, Alberto Coura, wrote to the Rio de Janeiro team and asked the coordinator to direct a reporter not to cover demonstrations over the death of the councilwoman They are repetitive and tiring. In the papers there are only articles and, you know, we do not publish this form of opinion. Of course, if there is a relevant fact, it should be done,” Coura wrote, according to Metrópoles.
In the early afternoon of the 20th, the journalists interrupted their work in protest of the Agencia Brasil managers' direction. According to O Globo, the professionals sought protection from the Union of Journalists of the Federal District (SJPDF).
SJPDF coordinator Gésio Passos told Globo that the managers' directions are not compatible with the company's mission and demonstrate the group's lack of editorial independence as well as external interference in production.