Agencies/ Sao Paulo
A frequent and fiery critic of Brazil’s media, President Jair Bolsonaro declared yesterday he would no longer speak to journalists.
Bolsonaro made the remarks outside his official residence in Brasilia where most mornings for the past year he has fielded questions from reporters and greeted fans.
“I want to speak with you, but the national journalism association says that when I speak, I attack them,” Bolsonaro told reporters.
“As I am a person of peace, I will not give more interviews.”
The move comes after the National Federation of Journalists said last week Bolsonaro’s presidency had “significantly affected the freedom of the press in Brazil.”
It registered 208 attacks – including physical and verbal – against the media or journalists in 2019, an increase of 54% compared with the previous year.
Bolsonaro was responsible for more than half of the incidents, it said.
He mostly used public statements such as speeches, interviews or tweets to attack the media.
Since his election campaign in 2018, Bolsonaro has often lashed out at reporters or outlets.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s approval rating has surged, thanks to an improving economy and his government’s efforts to fight corruption and make Brazil’s cities safer, according to a poll released yesterday.
The CNT/MDA poll showed Brazilians are more worried about the economy, jobs and public security than controversies that surround Bolsonaro, who had to fire his culture secretary last week for copying Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels in a speech.
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