Two of Brazil’s top media groups said Monday they were suspending coverage of President Jair Bolsonaro’s informal news conferences outside the presidential palace because of harassment by his supporters and a lack of security.
Media conglomerate Globo and newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said the presidential security detail was failing to provide adequate protection for journalists covering Bolsonaro.
The far-right president, who regularly rails against the mainstream media, often stops outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia in the morning to greet supporters and occasionally speak to the press.
But the informal event has turned tense at times.
Bolsonaro has been known to harangue, insult and flash obscene gestures at reporters. His supporters, who are separated from the journalists by a thin security cordon, regularly berate them.
“Every day our journalists suffer numerous insults and shouting from the president’s supporters, with no security whatsoever provided for them,” Globo Group vice president Paulo Tonet Camargo said in a letter to the national security minister announcing the boycott.
“These attacks have been increasing.”
Folha described a particularly tense environment Monday as the final straw.
The newspaper said Bolsonaro greeted the journalists by saying, “When you start telling the truth, I’ll talk to you again.”
Supporters then began aggressively shouting insults such as “Trash!” “Rats!” and “Communists!” at the press, it said.
“The newspaper plans to resume coverage at this location only when our journalists’ security is guaranteed by the presidential palace,” Folha said.