Public TV reporter transferred after questioning Health Ministry hires

tv reporter covid-19
EBC headquarters in Brasília. Photo: ABr

The Brazilian Communications Company (EBC), responsible for managing the federal government’s broadcast network TV Brasil, transferred one of its reporters away from the Covid-19 beat after he questioned Health Ministry representatives about the department’s hiring criteria — as several high officials have been named to key positions without having a medical background. That is the case of Eduardo Pazuello, the interim Health Minister, who is a logistics expert.

“Are members of the military and business people with no previous experience in public health going to be able to fight the biggest pandemic of the last 100 years?” asked the TV Brasil reporter, during a press conference. The Health Ministry gave no comment and shortly afterward the reporter was informed he would be transferred.

None of the 12 members of the military who were appointed to the ministry in the last month hold a medical degree. As The Brazilian Report covered on Monday, Mr. Pazuello was also set on naming billionaire Carlos Wizard as the Secretary of Science, Technology, and Strategic Resources, despite his lack of experience in health.

Created in 2007 to be “Brazil’s answer to the BBC,” EBC has been anything but. With paltry ratings — only 0.67 percent of Brazilian homes as of 2018 — the company is often plagued by political interference. Apparently, those woes have continued in an even more flagrant way under Jair Bolsonaro.