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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Brazilian journalist who denounced landgrabbing in Amazon drops appeal in libel case; will pay damages



Lúcio Flávio Pinto, four-time winner of Brazil's most important journalism award, the Esso, said he would no longer appeal the libel lawsuit in which he was sentenced to pay roughly $4,600 in moral damages for articles accusing the owner of a company of landgrabbing in Pará, a region in northern Brazil, according to the newspaper Estado de S. Paulo.

The lawsuit stemmed from a report in the newspaper, Jornal Pessoal, for which Pinto is the editor, in which he calls company executive Cecílio do Rego Monteiro a “land pirate." The amount of compensation, however, has not yet been reviewed and could increase considerably.

Without financial means to continue the legal battle after facing more than 33 lawsuits, the journalist decided that he would drop the appeal, which was to be heard by the Brazilian Supreme Court before Feb. 28, reported the newspaper o Diário do Grande ABC.

I would still be submitting myself to a court in which I no longer have any faith," said Pinto in his blog, referring to the Court of Justice of Pará, where a substitute judge who presided for a single day evaluated the 400-page suit and convicted him, according to the newspaper o Estadão.

After the lower court denied the appeal, and it was slated to be heard before the Supreme Court, the journalist received the support of press colleagues from many news sites and blogs, who published a manifesto of solidarity which included a fund to help pay the charges.

Beyond the sentence to pay moral damages, Pinto will lose his status as defendant and will be forced to face the other lawsuits that have accumulated during his career, the majority of which center around denouncing corruption, illegal deforestation, and wood trafficking in the Amazon, reported the newspaper o Portal Amazônia.



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