Portuguese deputy doesn’t like the questions and takes reporter’s recorders

click on image to see the video


Ricardo Rodrigues, a Portuguese parliament deputy, was being interviewed by two journalists from Sábado magazine, and after being questioned about its connection (or lack of) to a pedophilia case in Azores and a financial scam – his name was involved in rumours, but was never charged – he decided enough was enough and got up and left the room, taking the journalist’s audio recorders on its way out. Fortunately he forgot about the camera.

The journalists filed a complaint for theft and menace to freedom of press, while the deputy asked for a court order, based on the argument that he was under “unbearable psychological violence” caused by the “harassment and false assumptions” on the part of the journalists. In a press conference he admitted that his actions were “rash”.

Rodrigues is a deputy for the majority party (Portuguese Socialist Party) and was an attorney, being also one of the party’s voices in Justice issues. This is just another in a string of incidents involving the majority party and the press. The Prime Minister has been accused of meddling in the management of a private station, a matter that is currently under investigation by a hearing commission.

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Portuguese public television report

5 thoughts on “Portuguese deputy doesn’t like the questions and takes reporter’s recorders”

  1. In the press conference this man (I have problems in considering him a deputy since form is not essence) argued that under psychological distress he used “direct action” in order to defend his rights and good name. His argumentation makes use of the legal concept of “direct action” which allows in some circumstances for the use of force, appropriation or destruction on things. However, “direct action” depends on some assumptions which are clearly not present in the situation. It is also important to underline the limit of “greater good”. An important point to “direct action” is that it seeks to defend a right as such is goal oriented and not “rash”!

    An interesting link to a post by a portuguese law professor discussing the legal aspects is:
    http://blasfemias.net/2010/05/06/demita-se-senhor-deputado/

    By the way, I don’t know if that is part of your idea or not, but I find that publishing in english is a good way to fight against the portuguese placidity. Even if you choose not to have an agenda and take a strictly journalistic stance.

    1. That is an enormous detail! The direct action argument used by a lawyer could never be accidental,especially when he is a politician. I remember when PS members resigned for less…

      About my stance, it has to be journalistic. I don’t want my personal views about politics to be presented on this blog, except when it comes to fundamental rights and freedom of press. It is in English because i don’t have time for a bilingual editiion these days and i have a high percentage of foreign readers. I thought about not posting this, this is not the image i want to show of Portugal. But a line was crossed, and i think it was relevant to post about this. We need improve from the inside, and show that many of us are not willing to let some people get away with their actions. And – as a disclaimer – i’m not involved or follow any party. My political views do not fit in any of the ideological programs of the portuguese parties, so i’m pretty much for tolerance, respect and basic human rights.

      I have my personal views, but i use them to insert really bad jokes in my texts 😛 thanks for the link 🙂

  2. I’m a portuguese citizen and saw the a segment of the interview that was televised. The entire interview was not aired, but the segment is large enough to understand that the questions may have been uncomfortable but to talk about “unbearable psychological violence” is a joke. This man is supposed to be a parliament deputy, the vice-president of the Socialist Party (one of the two top parties in Portugal), and he as a part in justice affairs. Given these facts he MUST have the maturity and poise to deal with those voices that may be unwelcome. His excuse is completely unacceptable and his behavior demonstrates a negative underlying attitude regarding freedom and a lack of commitment and understanding of what it means to be a deputy. In a more demanding society his party members would be ashamed and not arguing that it was clear that he was under “unbearable psychological violence”. In that same society people would be demanding that he would go away. In my opinion he is not good enough to represent me and most if not everyone I know. Unfortunately, he will survive this without so much as bruise. Perhaps in a few years some else will make a him a disturbing question. I wonder what his reaction might be in a private setting?

    1. Hi, i agree with you, people with such responsibilities should know how to behave with the press, and i remember a dozen different answers he could have used, protecting his position and image. This is unfortunately a sign of the disrespect that many people still have for the press, that reminds me of the pre-1974 period in Portugal. And what strikes me the most is that he was so dumb he forgot he was being filmed. Everyone has the right to defend their name and reputation, and to call off the interview if they feel badgered. And although we have witnessed different journalists abusing their own responsibilities to push a private agenda – especially in the last years – it is a journalist’s job to ask difficult questions, and seek the truth. I have no opinion about Mr.Rodrigues possible connections to these situations, but he gave a poor image of himself reacting like this. Some issues affect the honor of the interviewees, but this is not an excuse to do what he did. I don’t know what happened in the rest of the interview and if i was the editor of the magazine i would publish the full video and let the audience decide about the reporters behaviour, but for what i’ve seen they did what they are supposed to do: ask a question, if not answered then ask again. It’s just another sad story in a country that sometimes still acts like if it was under the dictatorship that ended 36 years ago.

      Thank you for stopping by and leave a comment 🙂

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