Presidential candidates are “concerned”, “restless” and “alarmed” about the surveillance of two journalists, among them the deputy director of the SATURDAY, Carlos Rodrigues Lima. The case goes back to the period from April to July 2018, when, at the request of two public prosecutors, the PSP followed, photographed the professionals to identify their sources. He also analyzed the bank accounts of at least one of them.
Ana Gomes said that, from what she knows about the case so far (the SATURDAY publishes the full story in this Thursday’s edition, 14), it seems to him that this is “completely contrary to what would be elementary in a rule of law, especially about journalists”. The presidential candidate, supported by PAN and Livre, said on the sidelines of a campaign action in Santarém she felt “very uneasy” with the operation set up by PSP at the request of magistrates Fernanda Pêgo and Andrea Marques.
“I had information that made me very concerned. In the same way that I defend whistleblowers like Rui Pinto, I defend the work of journalists, which is absolutely indispensable in a free society in a democratic state”.
Serious attack on freedom of expression
In Madeira, where she was campaigning, Marisa Matias refused to comment directly on the case because she does not mix or confuse the powers, but underlined, quoted by Express, which “is always serious when freedom of expression is attacked, I always think serious when democratic pluralism is not represented and I think that the press is one of the pillars that guarantees this dimension, which is enshrined in the Constitution”.
Violation of a constitutional right
AT SATURDAY, Tiago Mayan Gonçalves said that this case seems “a clear abuse”. The lawyer, who is running with the support of the Liberal Initiative, stressed that although he still does not know “the exact contours” the news revealed in the last hours indicate that there is “an attack on freedom of the press and expression.”
The fact that the journalists were followed, photographed and their bank accounts analyzed in an attempt to identify their sources in a process for suspected violations of justice, leaves Mayan Gonçalves “distressed”: It seems to me an inversion of what it should be the investigation: looking for the perpetrators and not those who are exercising their constitutional right to press freedom “, he stressed.
Democracy in danger
Vitorino Silva, candidate for the RIR, left the notice to SATURDAY that situations like this endanger democracy. “It is not only necessary to get a vaccine for covid, it is also necessary to vaccinate democracy, which is in danger. The vaccine for democracy is freedom. When I say that we all have freedom, it is because no one commands freedom. And the press was born with freedom. “
Now, explained Vitorino Silva, “Portugal is a very backward country if a journalist cannot be free. This is usually the first sign that democracy is dying. And in this country, there are those who want to contaminate democracy, to poison it. And there must be truth, although many people do not like to read truths. “
A SATURDAY he also asked the other presidential candidates for a comment.
The criticisms made by the presidential candidates join the chorus of concern coming from other elements of civil society and their professional orders, from the union of journalists, to the union of magistrates of the public prosecutor or president of lawyers.
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