Marco Aurelio Cordeiro – CNN Brasil

Launching a new news outlet in Brazil

Freedom of speech is a right given to Americans by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s what allows them to stand on a street corner and say whatever comes to mind.

Freedom of speech is also what gives U.S. journalists the ability to write news or run TV segments critical of government officials without fear of retribution.

Marco Aurelio Cordeiro – CNN Brasil

Marco Aurelio Cordeiro | General Counsel | CNN Brasil

But what’s it like for journalists in other countries, such as Brazil, where the press has recently been the target of the country’s federal government? Freedom of speech is something important for Marco Aurelio Cordeiro, general counsel for CNN Brasil, the international news giant’s newest venture into South America.

“I know how important an independent and free press is to democracy and to our society in Brazil,” Cordeiro says.

Starting a network

Ted Turner launched CNN from Atlanta in 1980 and it’s grown to become the largest cable news outlet in the world. CNN Brasil launched to the public in March 2020—it took a little more than one year to build it from scratch.

Cordeiro says launching a TV news network during a global pandemic has been challenging. From regulatory issues and breach of contract risks to labor law matters and the general economic effects on the business, COVID-19 has made him and his team even more aware of the need to protect and provide for journalists.

“In addition, as a new business, we needed a number of employees on-site who couldn’t work remotely, and while it’s been challenging, I think we’re doing great overall,” Cordeiro adds.

Marco Aurelio Cordeiro – CNN Brasil

As with any new 21st century business, data privacy and compliance are serious matters. As a news organization representing one of the most prestigious journalism names in the world, editorial integrity is the goal of the many policies and procedures CNN Brasil has implemented since its inception.

Journalism ethics, fact-checking, evaluating public interest in a story and best journalism practices are all aspects of the business that fall under the purview of the company’s editorial board, on which Cordeiro sits as the only non-journalist.

“We’re an independent body of eight people whose mission is to ensure complete editorial independence of our journalists,” he notes.

Brazilian data privacy laws recently became enforceable, so in addition to compliance, Cordeiro and his team are always working to observe the best international privacy standards. He says that involves the implementation of data privacy policies for employees and business partners, management of CNN’s data-mapping and incident procedures, along with constant cybersecurity and privacy assessment.

Protecting free speech

In a career spanning 20 years, Cordeiro has been responsible for several freedom of the press cases. In one instance, he was victorious in defending the right of a TV network to run a popular police-themed journalistic news show in a class-action suit filed by public prosecutors who aimed to block its broadcast under underaged-rights violations allegations.

In another class-action lawsuit filed by public prosecutors, Cordeiro successfully defended the right of a TV network to keep running a comedy show based on a parody of the “The Apprentice” against claims of human rights violations due to cast bullying allegations.

Marco Aurelio Cordeiro – CNN Brasil

Journalism—and journalists—in Brazil has often come under scrutiny from politicians, public and private entities and the Brazilian people. It’s fairly common, he says, for people or corporations to take legal action to prevent the press from publishing a news piece or to later ask for indemnification due to the publication of a certain story.

“As an attorney for a media company specializing in hard news, it’s a vital part of my job to provide our team with the tools they need to accurately report the facts,” Cordeiro says. “I need to prevent any kind of external pressure or interference while also collaborating with our journalists on legal risks and offering legal advice.”

Following dad

After earning a business degree, Cordeiro’s father, João Alberto Cordeiro, finished his law degree while his son was already in high school.

“When I was a kid, my father was an HR executive and I loved going to his business office and pretending to be like him. When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to work with him in his law office and occasionally go to court,” he recalls. “That’s how I fell in love with both the corporate environment and the legal world.”

Marco Aurelio Cordeiro – CNN Brasil

Cordeiro graduated with a law degree in 2001 and has since taken several additional law classes, including at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Harvard Extension School. His first job as an attorney was as an associate for Bandeira de Mello Advogados Associados. After that, he was invited to join the legal team of Record TV, one of Brazil’s largest TV networks, where he stayed for over 13 years and left as a senior legal executive. He joined CNN Brasil in March 2019.

While being an in-house attorney wasn’t his goal, Cordeiro knew he wanted to be a business lawyer.

“Media and entertainment became my professional passions,” he says. “Serving as an attorney in the communications business, especially for a news organization, gives me a chance to be part of a team that brings information to the public. I feel like I’m making a contribution to my community and my country.”

Published on: March 4, 2021


categories: ,

Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!

Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing tag) where you want to display our review banner.


As promised in advance, my feature in Vanguard has increased my visibility within the profession and prompted more than a few people I have not communicated with recently to reconnect. One of the Italian law firms I have used in the past is now in the process of interviewing me for an article on their website and tweeting out the feature story. Activity and the number of people connecting with me on LinkedIn has soared, which is great. The Vanguard writers and editorial staff were great to work with—highly professional and made the effort to make the experience both fun and rewarding (they were also respectful of the time pressures and demands all lawyers face). I was very pleased with the experience and the final outcome. Needless to say, I have been very pleased. All in all working with Vanguard has been a very positive experience which generated good publicity for both Shawcor and myself. My sincere thanks.
– Tim Hutzul, General Counsel, ShawCor Ltd.
It was a great honor to be featured in Vanguard Law. Working with every member of the team, from the initial interview with Erin Clark, through production with Victor Martins, writing the article with Taryn Plumb and creating the final content with Dave Gushee, was a true pleasure. Everyone was very professional, enthusiastic and supportive, and their creative approach and positive attitude clearly came through in the final product.
– Kevin C. Rakowski, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Compliance with Radian Group Inc.
The piece highlighting my company, Bob Baker Enterprises, Inc., came out fabulous. Our company is in the new and used car sales and service industry. Everyone was great to work with and extremely professional. They produced a high-quality product and have provided expert assistance and guidance post-production of the article.
– Wade Poulson, General Counsel, Bob Baker Enterprises Inc.
I was honored to be the subject of an article. I enjoy reading Vanguard articles and seeing how other attorneys got to their positions and see their jobs. It's also interesting to see how different law firms partner with the subjects of the articles.
– Henry Marquard, in-house counsel, Stanley Consultants Inc.


Spring III 2024



  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.