Brazil’s new leader declares war on ‘fake news’ media; Palestinians to lobby against embassy move

by WorldTribune Staff, November 6, 2018

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro vowed that the Brazilian government will no longer advertise with media outlets which spread “fake news.”

During the campaign, Bolsonaro posted almost daily criticisms of Brazil’s press on social media.

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro. / Getty Images

Asked in a TV interview last week if he would respect press freedom even for the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, Brazil’s largest circulation daily which routinely slammed him, Bolsonaro responded: “That newspaper is done. As far as I’m concerned with government advertising – press that acts like that, lying shamelessly, won’t have any support from the federal government.”

Government advertising totaled 1.8 billion reais ($487 million) in 2017, including ads by state enterprises.

“Treating the press as an antagonist is not a new tactic, but the aggressive tone and frequency of Bolsonaro’s attacks are very worrying,” said Marina Atoji, coordinator of the investigative journalism group Abraji.

Bolsonaro’s supporters say the Brazilian media has a leftist bias and they have turned to social media for news about him.

“The worst thing was they tried to crucify Bolsonaro for his controversial statements on women, gays and blacks,” said Emilio Kerber, an Air Force major who ran for Congress in Bolsonaro’s coalition. “But Bolsonaro has millions of followers on social media and he won anyway.”

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) envoy to Brazil say he would lobby Bolsonaro against moving Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“Let’s hope it’s a campaign announcement. We are hoping that (the incoming government) will maintain Brazil’s traditional position, respectful of the United Nations resolutions on the issue,” said Ibrahim Alzeben.

Bolsonaro tweeted on Nov. 1: “As previously stated during our campaign, we intend to transfer the Brazilian Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel is a sovereign state and we shall duly respect that.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed Bolsonaro’s announcement.

“I congratulate my friend Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro for his intention to move the Brazilian Embassy to Jerusalem, a historic, correct and exciting step,” Netanyahu said.

Senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi condemned Bolsonaro’s announcement, saying, “These are provocative and illegal steps that will only destabilize security and stability in the region.”


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