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

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Leonardo Sakamoto has been repeteadly receiving threats and agressions. He is a renowned and committed human rights journalist and defender, director of the NGO Repórter Brasil, a leading Brazilian NGO to combat forced labour. He is also a blogger at UOL. Sakamoto is a journalism professor at PUC-SP (Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo), a visiting scholar in the Department of Politics at the New School in New York, and adviser to the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery. Sakamoto has suffered once again defamation. This time, allegations are against JBS and 4Buzz. The companies are accused of disseminating a defamatory text against the journalist and activist through an ad at Google. The companies have denied the accusations. The activist alleges that the defamation has contributed to increasing the number of threats, physical and verbal agressions.

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13 April 2016

Brazil: JBS and 4Buzz deny accusations of organizing Google ad campaign to defame human rights and anti-slave labour activist

Author: Bruce Douglas, The Guardian

“Meat company denies backing advertisements against Brazilian activist-Report said JBS, world’s largest meat processor, was behind Google advertisement calling anti-slavery activist Leonardo Sakamoto a liar”, 10 April 2016

JBS, the world’s largest meat-processing company, has denied organising a Google advertising campaign to attack Brazil’s most prominent anti-slave labour campaigner. Leonardo Sakamoto, the president of the NGO Repórter Brasil, has repeatedly been the target of physical and legal threats over his journalism and activism in support of workers’ rights. In 2015, search results for his name were listed under an ad...stating: “Leonardo Sakamoto Lies.” An article published in...Folha de São Paulo claims that JBS, and a digital marketing agency called 4Buzz, were behind the campaign...Google cited its response to...[a]...court order...But...declined to state who paid for the advert, citing client confidentiality...[T]he majority of...[IPs mentioned by Google]...were linked to 4Buzz,...contracted by the meat company in 2015. JBS and 4Buzz did not respond...for comment from the Guardian. In response to a comment posted on the JBS Facebook wall...,...[JBS]...[denied]...“...promoting any kind of action with the goal of defaming or attacking the journalist Leonardo Sakamoto”...Google...said...[it was]...“not responsible for, and cannot interfere with content published by advertisers on AdWords”, but...violation of its policies could result in removal of an ad...JBS has been repeatedly cited in Repórter Brasil articles for workers’ rights violations...Sakamoto’s work has resulted in defamation...[,]...death threats...[,]...criminal charges...and possible jail time...

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13 April 2016

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

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

[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 FolhaPolí…[, 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…

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