A BOLA – Benfica emails case: the judge justifies several illegal acts (Justice)

Judge Carlos Alexandre pronounced this Monday the director of communication of FC Porto, Francisco J. Marques, as well as the journalist Júlio Magalhães, former director of the Porto Canal, as well as the commentator Diogo Faria, for offenses of violation of correspondence and misdemeanor . to the legal person, in the context of the so-called Benfica email case.

In the investigation decision, to which BOLA had access, the illicit activities were justified.

The case dates back to April 2017 and February 20, 2018, when more than twenty programs Porto da Banc Universe“about 55 e-mails exchanged between employees of the Benfica group” were revealed.

Many points in Porto’s defense went unanswered. Of “the public interest underlying the nature of the persons concerned”, since it is mentioned that it is “the investigation and knowledge and dissemination of communications between different individuals”, but also of the “right to information”, given that the defendants that they did not hold a professional card, showing “disrespect for contradictory precedents and exhaustion of sources of information”.

The conclusion of the preliminary ruling contains all the elements aimed at and justifying the reasons why these three elements (Francisco J. Marques, Diogo Faria and Júlio Magalhães) are now brought to justice. Some points were highlighted as “the public interest underlying the nature of the objectives”.

“What is at stake, it must not be forgotten, is the investigation and knowledge and dissemination of communications between various natural persons, mostly unknown, outside of this restricted group of people who follow the football phenomenon (which does not represent the global , society) – and, it should be noted, with the aim of violating and infringing the rights of the assistants”, can we read, referring, then, in another point , the veracity of the facts disclosed and the adequacy of the means used and the public interest inherent in the content of the facts.

Explained here: “The defendants allege that their conduct, in particular that of Francisco J. Marques, was not motivated by any persecutory intent or malicious campaign, but rather by the animus narrandii present in the exercise of their activity” , recalling the functions of a journalist, who have not been met. “The functions of a journalist are linked, as determined by the Journalist Statute (Law 1/99 of 01.01) in its article 14.0, to the duties of: 1) objectivity; 2) independence; 3) integrity; 4) prior contradictory visas; 5) rectification of inaccuracies in the work; 6) respect for the presumption of innocence; 7) truth; 8) preservation of privacy, where there is no compelling public interest. All these values ​​are contrary to the functions exercised by the defendants who, as subordinates, only pursue the competitive interests of the FCP Group, not guided by the criteria of objectivity and independence which characterize the journalistic function, but by the opposite. Because these are such incompatible functions, and a usual practice, as the witness José Manuel Ribeiro said during a session of 06.09.2021, the suspension of the journalist’s license at the start of this type of function. Consequently, the arguments of the defendants are not valid, insofar as they support all the legitimacy of their alleged right to information on hypotheses which are raised only when the exercise of the right to inform journalists is in Game”.

The lawsuit also mentions a lack of objectivity and exemption from all the information that was revealed.

Breaches of the duty of objectivity and exemption have also been pointed out. Finally, it was recalled that the defendants had forgotten a principle of the judicial system: the prohibition on “taking advantage of their own illicit”.

Benfica’s defense praised the decision as “fair” and “important”, as it “reinforces the idea that in the rivalry of clubs not everything can be said, including defamation and slander, and also the selection, manipulation, decontextualization and truncation of documents, which, moreover, had already been obtained and then victims of criminal trafficking”.

The defendants, after learning of the decision, announced that they would appeal.

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