Deputies and senators from the Joint Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPMI) of January 8, allied with former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) tried to link journalist Adriano Machado, a photographer for the Reuters Agency, to the coup acts that culminated in the invasion and depredation of the buildings of the Three Powers, in Brasilia.
Deputy Delegate Ramagem (PL-RJ), for example, claimed, without providing evidence, that Machado had participated in the coup acts right around the headquarters of the Federal Police, also in Brasília, on December 12. “He gave publicity to the acts and did not fulfill his duties as a journalist. He took part in a coup rehearsal, which he was hired to photograph,” he said.
Along the same lines, senator Eduardo Girão (Novo-CE) insinuated that Machado could be “from the Lula government” when he said that the photographer was being respected in the commission. “It is very important for us to realize right away how different the treatment is when calling someone from the opposition or from the Lula government. You see the respect they are showing you,” said Girão. The parliamentarian also endorsed Ramagem’s speech by saying that Machado would have made a “rehearsal” of the coup acts.
Other parliamentarians went so far as to say that Machado would have been hired to carry out a rehearsal of the acts of vandalism and that the photojournalist would have been colluding with the crimes committed by Bolsonaristas. “Who is the creator of this documentary? Who invited you?” asked Senator Magno Malta (PL-ES).
“Nobody laid a finger on you. You were, in my mind, inside a documentary and seeing a crime scene. You become conniving with the authors of that. You run the risk of answering the lawsuit of two thousand people” who were in the coup acts. “I am aware that you will respond to these processes.”
:: In a statement to the CPI in the Federal District, General Heleno called January 8 a ‘demonstration of dissatisfaction’ ::
Despite the unproven accusations, Machado, on the day of the coup acts, was at work at the headquarters of the National Congress, and recorded the action of Bolsonaristas, as well as other photographers and communication professionals who were on the spot. The professional lives in Brasília and, since 2016, has worked as a photographer for the Reuters Agency, recording federal government events. As a photojournalist, he has been working for about 25 years and has covered events such as presidential inaugurations and the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff (PT) in 2016.
“I conduct my work in accordance with the Reuters Principles of Trust, which provide the foundation for the professional, fact-based journalism that Reuters has produced for more than 170 years. I have received constant training and updates on the principles of trust since I started working for Reuters. In line with these principles, I am committed to impartially and reliably providing information for the benefit of all customers worldwide. In addition, I am committed to working with integrity, independence and free of bias,” Machado told parliamentarians.
The professional stated that he does not know any of the Bolsonaristas who were at the scene and that he was threatened by one of them, including with a Taser. Machado also said he was intimidated into deleting the photos he had taken.
After the release of a video by CNN Brasil, in which Machado appears behind a group that broke down the access door to the anteroom of the Presidency of the Republic, the photographer claims that he had to close his social networks due to the virtual attacks he had been receiving .
:: Bolsonarist businessman admits to having financed coup camp ::
In a note, Reuters defended Machado’s photographic coverage, “which was impartial and in the public interest.” “He witnessed a large group of protesters walking up the main ramp to the palace and followed them to document the unfolding events. We stand by his coverage, which was unbiased and in the public interest,” the statement read.
In the same line, institutions that act in defense of communication also came out in defense of Machado. The organizations Palavras Aberta Institute, Vladimir Herzog Institute, Association of Digital Journalism (Ajor), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji), Tornavoz, National Federation of Journalists (Fenaj) and Association of Education Journalists ( Jeduca) stated that Machado’s appointment is an attempt to intimidate journalists.
“Freedom of the press is a right provided for by the Federal Constitution that is absolutely fundamental for the proper functioning of the democratic regime. The attempt to intimidate a photojournalist is, therefore, a clear attack on the Democratic State of Law, which cannot be corroborated by the National Congress” , defend.
The federal government’s Secretariat for Social Communication also classified the accusation as a “disinformation campaign” against Adriano Machado. “The allegations against Adriano Machado are completely unreasonable. The professional in question is a photojournalist and, as such, went to the location to cover an event that crossed the national sphere, and became an internationally followed agenda”, said the Secretariat in a note published on May 8 of this year.
“It is worth mentioning that the Reuters professional was not the only photojournalist to record the scenes, which, incidentally, were broadcast live on all social networks. Therefore, the information that the photographer was an infiltrator and was in the Planalto before the attacks is not correct”, points out the organ.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo