Reporters Without Borders expressed indignation after three members of a television crew from privately-owned TV Globo, Lúcio Sturm, Gilmário Batista and Marçal Queiroz were beaten up ouside the national headquarters of the Brazil Workers’ Party (PT) in Sao Paulo.
"We strongly condemn these serious assaults committed against journalists while doing their job," said Reporters Without Borders. "We congratulate the Sao Paulo police for managing to identify two of the three assailants. We however regret that one of them was then released and that the interviews have not established a motive for the assault."
The three were attacked on 22 June by three men shouting "lies, lies" and who began the assault by kicking their TV truck, as they were reporting on an internal crisis within the PT, party of President Lula da Silva.
They then turned on the crew, striking assistant cameraman Queiroz in the face with his camera tripod, breaking his left jaw, leaving him needing reconstructive surgery. Journalist Lúcio Sturm suffered ruptured ligaments to his right hand and bruises to the knee.
The cameraman Gilmário Batista filmed the assault and handed over the tape to the police, who were able to identify two of their three assailants. One of them, Flávio Rogério de Oliveira, was arrested the following day but released after naming an associate Adriano Gomes da Silva, who was quickly arrested and imprisoned. Gomes da silva, a postal services employee, was involved in a violent demonstration in Brasilia in 2003 in which windows were broken at the Planalto presidential palace. The third attacker, named as Claudiao, reportedly lives in Guarulhos, in Sao Paulo’s outer suburbs.
Police officers noticed that one of the assailants could be seen on the tape wearing the insignia of the bankers’ union. This organisation however condemned the attack and denied any involvement. The PT called it a "violation of press freedom."