Raul Regos’ image in the balcony, with his fist raised, thanking the crowd’s support, became symbolical of the case República. From the troubles with the censorship to the post-25 of April tension, a full career, that left its marks in the Journalism world
“This newspaper wasn’t reviewed by any censorship commission”.
At 9.30 am on the 25th of April, 1974, with the revolutionary movement still ongoing and without being known any result of the military operations, Raul Rego sent to typography the sentence that would be published on the footer of República’s first edition, that would come out to the streets at 11h30.
On that same day, that reporter would come to know, for the first time, how it was to make Journalism in freedom.
Raul Rego was part of the direction of the República newspaper since 1971.
His arrival had boosted the newspaper’s growth, with circulation going from three thousand copies to 10 to 15 thousand.
According to him, the secret was in “telling news, not to make censorship before the censor”.
Censorship was not an adversary to underestimate.
Rare were Raul Rego’s texts that resisted unscathed to the censors’ detailed revision.
An editorial of his authorship was forbidden for being, according to the censor, “filled of the worst politica intention”.
In the last times of dictatorship, it is told that the journalist had as habit to leave the censored texts in the mailbox of the own Marcelo Caetano.
The newspaper he led stood out, actually, for the fight against the ruling regime, defending the civil and democratic rights.
Raul Rego was the responsible to make República reach several journalists, namely Vítor Direito and, after, João Gomes, Afonso Praça and Assis Pacheco.
The reporter had worked with many of them in his previous newsroom, the evening paper Diário de Lisboa.
Raul Rego had entered the newspaper in 1969, under the invitation of the director Norberto Lopes.
Besides writing for Diário de Lisboa, he also worked in Jornal do Comércio, since one was published in the morning, and the other in the evening.
His collaboration withJornal do Comércio went back to 1942, after experiences in Seara Nova magazine and in the news agency Reuters.
The political story became his elected work, despite the censorship’s role.
Brave and critical, Raul Rego was an active voice against the political regime since the start of his careeer.
Born on the 15th of April, 1913, in Morais, Macedo de Cavaleiros (Bragança), Raul Rego attended the Theology course, but ended up on abandoning the ecclesiastic life.
He started to work as a teacher at Colégio Moderno, founding with his students the newspaper Gente Moça.
An article of the publication was considered an offense to religion.
He was removed from the school due to the pressure of Salazar’s Minister of Education, Carneiro Pacheco.
The confrontations with the regime
Throughout the decades, he was accused several time of “the practice of activity against the State’s safety”.
His militancy in MUD – Movimento de Unidade Democrática, led him to be arrested by the political police, in 1945.
Nonconformist, he led the press services of General Norton de Matos and Humberto Delgado’s campaign.
He was once again arrested for publishing, with other antifascists, the Program for the Democratization of the Republic, in 1961.
Four years after, in Humberto Delgado’s burial, he was arrested again, along with Mário Soares, Abranches Ferrão and Catanho de Menezes.
The book Para um Diálogo com o Sr. Cardeal Patriarcadictated a new arrestment.
The book was confiscated and Raul Rego was arrested by PIDE.
The organism interrogated him again due to the publication, in 1971, of the work O Processo de Damião Gois.
His role in the defense of the democratic freedom earned him international recognition.
In 1976, he was distinguished with the award “Pena de Ouro da Liberdade”, given by the International Federation of Editors of Newspapers and Publications.
Raul Rego defended the practice of a full citizenship in a double quality: not only as journalist, but also as politician.
In 1973, militants of Acção Socialista Portuguesa gathered in congress in Germany and approved the creation of Partido Socialista (Socialist Party).
Raul Rego was one of the founders of the party.
The duplicity of the journalist and political role wasn’t always easy to manage, especially in the troubled times after the 25th of April.
The República case
Raul Rego was one of the figures of the so called Caso República, illustrative of the fight for the control over Social Communication, during the summer of 1975.
República’s facilities were occupied by the Workers’ Coordinating Comission, a way of protest against the publication’s editorial line.
The workers defended the board’s suspension, accusing it of trying to transform the newspaper into an advocate of PS’s interests.
The commission announced to the journalists that whomever left the facilities wouldn’t be allowed to get back in.
Outside the newsroom, PS organized a protest supporting the former administration.
The image of Raul Rego in the balcony, with his fist raised, thanking the crowd’s support became symbolic of the tensions lived in the national press.
On the 25th of May 1975, it is published the first edition of Jornal do Caso República, led by Raul Rego.
“The struggle that in this moment divides the workers of República, long surpasses the newspaper’s scope, of all of those who make it, of its shareholders and readers. What is at stake is the right of free expression, recognizing to all men and to all movements, politicians and others, equal possibilities of contact with the public and the raise of supporters […]”, he wrote, in the editorial.
República ceased its publication in January of 1976.
In August of 1975, it was launched the newspaper A Luta, directed by Raul Rego with a team composed by several journalists of the former newsroom of República.
“A partisan newspaper, that doesn’t report everything, that doesn’t have enough public […] the newspaper failed after some time, became dispensable, started to be an organ of PS”, considered Raul Rego.
He was also in the lead of Portugal Hoje, itself also an outlet linked to the Socialist Party.
After the carnations revolution, he became Secretary of State for Social Communication in the I Constitutional Government.
Was also president of Lisbon’s Municipal Assembly between 1977 and 1979.
He was elected congressman of Assembleia Constituinte (after Assembleia da República) in the elections of April 25th of 1975, a position he held until 1999.
One of his most newsworthy moment was during the vote about the abortion depenalization.
“A man enters the Parliament, in a wheelchair and pulled by the imposition of courage and the strength of certainties. That man is called Raul Rego, and is there to give his vote to the abortion decriminalisation proposition”, describes Batista Bastos.
The author and the historian
Besides his career as journalist and politician, he also stood out as a writer and as a historian, publishing dozens of works.
He became known as one of the major Portuguese bibliophiles, for his passion and study of books.
Journalist, politician, historian and mason, Raul Rego was a man of the arts and of culture and stood out in the defense of democratic freedom.
He passed away on February 1st, 2002, already considered a symbol of the freedom of the press and one of the faces of democratic freedom.
“My generation was one of the sacrificed. I hope that my sacrifice is useful to peace and progress of my children”.