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13 Apr 2016

Ricardo Mendonça, Folha de S. Paulo/Translation Reporter Brasil (Brazil)

Brazil: Legal documents suggest that JBS and 4Buzz promoted paid ad at Google & are accused of exposing defamatory text against journalist increasing threats against him

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[Translation provided by Reporter Brasil of original article "Papéis sugerem ação de JBS contra jornalista Leonardo Sakamoto", Folha de São Paulo]

“Documents suggest JBS action against journalist Leonardo Sakamoto”, 8 April 2016

Legal documents produced after a court order suggest that the companies JBS and 4Buzz promoted paid ads on Google that exposed a defamatory text against journalist and activist Leonardo Sakamoto. Mr. Sakamoto is…a member of NGO Repórter Brasil and writes on a blog hosted by UOL…controlled by…Folha Group…[T]he companies would have sponsored the link “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies”, which came as the first result in searches using the terms “Sakamoto”, “Leonardo Sakamoto” or “Blog do Sakamoto” in 2015. Meat processing giant JBS owns brands Friboi and Swift, and earned 12.9 billion reais in 2014. 4Buzz is a Ribeirão Preto-based firm hired by JBS in 2015 to counter rumors that a son of former Brazilian President Lula would be the owner of Friboi…Targeted by stories published on Repórter Brasil’s website on employment and environmental issues, JBS denies having any connection with the vilifying link…4Buzz also denies any connection with the event. The story linking the two companies to the attack to Mr. Sakamoto began in…2015, when the website “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies” started to be promoted. The link led Internet users to the text “Sakamoto receives over R$ 1 million to call opponents mercenaries, Luciano Ayan denounces”, hosted on the website FolhaPolítica.org…[, whose]…owner is unknown[,]…has no known relation to newspaper Folha de S. Paulo...[and]… publishes material unfavorable to the Workers’ Party (PT) as well as false news. The text against Mr. Sakamoto…is full of corruption charges...[U]nder a court order, Google pointed to “JBS/SA”. It provided…[, among other things,]…a list of IPs (Internet Protocols, a sort of web ID), indicating the Internet connections that operated the account that hired it…[It]…did not say who paid for the ad…GVT informed the Court that almost all IPs belonged to 4Buzz. The text published by FolhaPolítica distorts information taken from Repórter Brasil’s own website…[T]he spreading of the link “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies” by Google and…by countless blogs and posts on social networking websites…had the strongest reach and posed the highest risks. “In addition to the threats, I was the target of name-calling and even physical assault more often”…[says Sakamoto]…Google said…its contract with the sponsor of the link “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies” includes confidentiality…prevent[ing]…it from informing who paid for the ad…[And]…said its policies may result in the removal of a disrespectful ad…

Part of the following timelines

Brazil: JBS and 4Buzz deny allegations of defaming human rights journalist & contributing to increased threats

Intl. Human Rights Defenders Day: Role of business in protecting civic freedoms & human rights defenders