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Two articles published in Brazilian newspaper O Progresso ended in a two-year jail sentence, Survival International says. (Credit: O Progresso)

Brazilian lawyer Isaac Duarte de Barros Júnior was convicted in July 2011 after writing an article for newspaper that contained racist statements, Survival International reported. His December 2008 article was for regional newspaper O Progresso, Survival International press officer Christina Chauvenet told iMediaEthics by e-mail and CapitalNews.com reported.

According to Mondo Times, O Progresso is a Portuguese-laungage newspaper in Dourados, Brazil.  O Progresso lists more than 25 articles with De Barros’ byline since April 2011, including one published as recently as October 21, 2011.

Survival International is an advocacy group for tribal peoples funded by “concerned members of the public and some foundations.”  Its website explains that “we work to change racist attitudes towards, and false beliefs about, trial peoples.”

CapitalNews.com.br reported that de Barros will be jailed for two years and that the charges were brought against de Barros by the federal prosecutor.  According to Midiamax.com, de Borros’ lawyer said in July he planned to appeal.

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His article claimed that indigenous people are “vagrants,” “tramps” and “take possession of the land like true vandals,” Survival International explained.  “In the sentencing, the judge affirmed that freedom of expression is not an absolute guarantee…The dignity of humankind, the foundation of the democratic state, prevails above any manifestation of thinking that incites discrimination or hatred based on race, ethnicity, or culture,'” according to Chauvenet.

Chauvenet told iMediaEthics by e-mail that de Barros “might need to pay reparations of up to 30 million reals, which is about $17 million USD.”  According to Chauvenet, de Barros’ financial penalty will be determined “in a separate decision.”

“Racism against the Guarani Indians is rife, but this is one of the very few cases in Brazil of a person being jailed for it,” according to Survival International.

iMediaEthics has written to O Progresso for more information about this case and will update with any response.

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Brazilian Man’s Newspaper Article Lands him in Jail for Racism?

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