Brazilian journalist sentenced for racism against ‘ignorant’ Indians

A journalist described Brazil's Indians as ‘ignorant’ and ‘dirty’
A journalist described Brazil's Indians as ‘ignorant’ and ‘dirty’
© Fiona Watson/Survival

A journalist in Brazil has been found guilty of discrimination against Indians, who he described as ‘ignorant’ and ‘dirty’.

In an article published by the news site Jornal NH, Ivar Paulo Hartmann stated, ‘The tribes remaining in Brazil today are composed of semi-civilized, dirty, ignorant and vagabond individuals, living off white people’s largesse’.

Hartmann has been ordered to carry out two years of community service, and pay a fine to the Kaingang Indians of southern Brazil.

Judge Salise Monteiro Sanchotene stated, ‘Freedom of expression must not incite racial intolerance and violence, which compromise the principle of equality of all before the law’.

Racist descriptions of tribal people in the media reinforce the incorrect colonial idea that they have not changed over time. They are extremely dangerous, as they are often used to justify the persecution or forced ‘development’ of tribal peoples and the theft of their land in the name of ‘progress’. Time and again this has proved disastrous.

Survival’s Stamp it Out campaign seeks to defend indigenous peoples’ lives and rights by putting a stop to racist descriptions of them in the media.

Australia’s media regulator ACMA found the country’s Channel 7 guilty of racism after Survival complained about a report which labelled Brazil’s Suruwaha tribe as child murderers, ‘Stone Age’ relics and ‘one of the worst human rights violators in the world’.