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Anti-Corruption Goes Reality TV in Brazil

Brazil may have a heap of problems, but creativity has never been one of them.  How to make the anti-corruption fight something more than just words?  Make entertainment out of it.  From John Leahy in the Financial Times:

Normally, live coverage of events in Brazil is reserved for football matches.

But in recent weeks, the law professors at the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), a Brazilian educational institution, have been running live commentary on something entirely different – the Mensalão (or big monthly allowance) case in the Supreme Court.

So unprecedented is the case – in which the court, in televised hearings, has convicted senior members of Brazil’s former Workers’ Party, the PT, of corruption – that the professors have set up an on-campus “situation room” to provide live commentary to the media.

With the judges now moving to sentencing, interest in the trial is picking up.

“This case is a result of the strengthening of the rule of law in Brazil,” said Oscar Vilhena Vieira, director of law at the FGV.

According to the article, among those convicted in the Mensalão include the towering figure of José Dirceu, who served as chief of staff to the mysteriously beloved former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who used to pay bribes to opposition politicians in Congress in return for their support.
Dirceu has always seemed like one of Brazil’s untouchables, as he has “manoeuvred and used tricks to escape trial for 14 years.”  Now let’s see if Brazil can make these sentences stick.