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Brazil’s Next President Jair Bolsonaro Declares War on ‘Fake News’ Media

Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro declared financial war on the nation’s largest newspaper last week, pledging to boycott the outlet—and any others spreading what he has called “fake news”—when allocating government advertising funds. Reuters reports Sunday that when asked if he would support the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo, which has long been critical of his far-right positions, Bolsonaro tersely replied “That newspaper is done. As far as I’m concerned with government advertising—press that acts like that, lying shamelessly, won’t have any support from the federal government.” It’s not just Folha that’s under attack: after winning Brazil’s general election last Sunday, Bolsonaro said that any media groups spreading ‘lies’ will not receive government advertising money, which totaled $487 million last year. This is not the first time that Bolsonaro has attacked journalists, Reuters notes. He has repeatedly labeled investigative reporting “fake news,” and his anti-media rhetoric has prompted attacks against critical journalists across the country—although he publicly condemned supporters who acted violently. “Treating the press as an antagonist is not a new tactic,” a coordinator of an investigative journalism group told Reuters, “but the aggressive tone and frequency of Bolsonaro’s attacks are very worrying.”