I finally got around to doing a press freedom’s story today that I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
The story can be found here on the Financial Times Beyond Brics blog and is about the Folha de S. Paulo’s lawsuit against two brothers who spoofed it on a web site called Falha de S. Paulo.
Falha means failure in Portuguese and the site attacked Folha for what it believes is the paper’s bias against the Workers’ Party.
I personally don’t think that the Folha is Tucano (that is, supports the opposition PSDB party). I think the paper is against more or less critical of everything and I love it for that.
Brazilian leftists, however, think that to criticise something is to be against something.
I’ve had more than a few frustrating moments in Brazil when locals have accused me of being a right-wing conservative because I’ve criticised Lula or his government.
They are unable to grasp the fact that I might be criticising, say, corruption or the lack of an education policy because I think corruption or the lack of an education policy is not a good thing.
The Falha web site wasn’t brilliant but in a free society people should be allowed to spoof and satirise within obvious limits of abuse.
More importantly, a newspaper like Folha – a paper that has built its considerable reputation on criticising the powers that be – should recognise that and respect it without recurring to censorship.
Under any terms.