Canal Livre

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Canal Livre
Genre Crime
Presented by Wallace Souza
Country of origin Brazil
Original language(s) English
Production
Producer(s) Vanessa Lee[1]
Location(s) Manaus
Broadcast
Original run 1989[2] – 2008

Canal Livre was a popular crime television programme in Brazil. It was presented by the former police officer and former politician Wallace Souza and was the most popular show in the city of Manaus.[3] Souza's popularity as host of Canal Livre saw him get elected on three occasions to political office.[3]

The show remained on air until 2008 and came to worldwide attention in August 2009 when it was revealed that the presenter had been accused of hiring hitmen to carry out the crimes his show was documenting.[4] Souza has been accused of involvement in at least five murders which date from 2007 until February 2009 and which involve the deaths of people who stole cars and dealt drugs.[3] It is thought the murders were commissioned to increase the programme's rating even further and to eliminate all opposition.[5][6]

Format[edit]

Canal Livre detailed the murders of various criminal figures, with the camera crews regularly arriving on the crime scene before police.[4] It is this which drew suspicion from detectives who are now investigating the role of the show in these deaths.[4] Souza's role was as a studio presenter preaching about crime and broadcasting what was deemed "exclusive" coverage of crimes.[4][5]

Investigation[edit]

One of the crimes reported on in the show involved a reporter walking through a forest to examine a burning corpse, telling viewers: “It smells like a barbecue. It is a man. It has the smell of burning meat. The impression is that it was in the early hours . . . it was an execution.” Suspicion arose from this when questions were raised about how the reporter knew the time of the murder.[3]

Investigators have been disrupted by Souza and some have had their lives threatened.[3] Souza has, however, denied any involvement in the deaths, describing the allegations as "absurd" and saying that he had tried to fight corruption and paedophilia amongst other crimes.[4][5] Until October 2009, he was not charged with murder because his position as an elected state official granted him parliamentary immunity.[6][7] But after being expelled from the assembly, he was presented with multiple charges.[8] Vanessa Lee, the former producer of the program, was arrested in December 2009.[1] Souza hid from the police at first, but later turned himself in. He died of a heart attack in 2010 while awaiting trial.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ex-produtora de programa de TV do ex-deputado Wallace Souza, do Amazonas, é presa". Portal Amazônia (in Portuguese). 10 December 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "TV star Wallace Souza on kill charges flees justice". The Australian. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Phillips, Dom (2009-08-12). "Brazil crime show host 'used murder to boost ratings'". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Brazilian host investigated over TV killings". RTÉ. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  5. ^ a b c "Brazil TV Host 'Used Hitmen To Boost Ratings'". Sky News. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  6. ^ a b "TV crime-show host accused of ordering murders to boost ratings". France 24. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  7. ^ "'I'm a victim of a plot,' says TV host accused of Brazil killings". Sydney Morning Herald. 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  8. ^ Hennigan, Tom (2009-10-08). "Judge orders arrest of crime show host for ordering murders". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2009-10-09.