Project guides journalists in smuggling coverage


Press OfficesThe magazine Press, the country's main communication vehicle for journalists, is doing important work to improve society's level of information about the ill effects of smuggling. This is the Fronteiras Cruzadas project, which offers free training for journalists interested in covering the subject.

The project is being developed through two workshops (in São Paulo, on May 18, and in Brasília, on May 25) with the award-winning journalist Mauri König, who is a special reporter for Gazeta do Povo, from Curitiba, and has been following the problem for more than two decades. The initiative also includes a website created to help professionals find information about smuggling and sources of interviews, in addition to publishing their reports about the practice. The project has the support of ETCO-Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition.

The first workshop, held at the Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing de São Paulo, attracted dozens of journalists from different media. Invited to speak at the opening of the event, ETCO President Evandro Guimarães drew attention to the role of the press in this matter. "I think that the media does not give due importance to the problem," he said. "That is why we think it is so important to support an event like this."

The ETCO president presented journalists with an overview of the problem of smuggling and other related illegalities, such as product counterfeiting, tax evasion and piracy. "These problems are often treated leniently, as if they were minor evils," stated Guimarães. "But the truth is that they support organized crime."

Profit higher than drugs

The opening also featured a lecture by the president of the National Forum Against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP), Edson Luiz Vismona, who sought to sensitize journalists to the damage that illegal practices cause to Brazil. "Only the money that the country fails to collect from taxes on smuggling from Paraguay would be enough to build 3.800 nurseries, 21 kilometers of roads or 285 thousand popular houses," he compared.

At the workshop, journalist Mauri König told how gangs work: from using money to corrupt public officials to employing minors to transport goods. According to him, Paraguay remains the main gateway for illegal products in the country - and among all types, cigarettes are the most important item, representing 67% of contraband. "Today, organized crime profits more by bringing cigarettes illegally from Paraguay than by trafficking cocaine and marijuana together," he said.

König showed the cost spreadsheet for criminals, who reserve about 20% of their revenue to pay for illegal transportation and kickbacks. Citing the study The Cost of Smuggling, released two months ago by the Institute for Economic and Social Development of Borders (Idesf), said that smugglers get to profit more than 900% of the invested capital, as in the case of medicines. "About 20% of the drugs consumed in the country are smuggled," he said. "Still, there is a cultural relativization that attaches little importance to crime."

At the end of the workshop, König listed a number of aspects of smuggling that can be developed through investigative reporting and invited journalists to devote themselves more to the subject.

The smugglers' profit


Contraband material



For more information about the events, click here