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Prior Restraint | The Gazeta do Povo


Source: Jornal O Globo.

RIO & BRASÍLIA – The most recent case of a judicial veto over the work of Brazilian journalists —  “Gazeta do Povo”, of Paraná, has been prohibited from covering investigations into the conduct of the president of the state high court (TJ), Clayton Camargo — has reopened the debate over prior restraint used against journalists.

The decision, noted by Ancelmo Gois in his column in O GLOBO, is, in the view of experts, just another case on the rolls of attacks on the freedom of expression in Brazil, which in 2012 fell from 99 to 108 in the Reporters without Borders world rankings on the subject. Data from the National Newspaper Association (ANJ) show that last year, there were 11 cases of law suits that prevented the publication of news reporting.

— It’s a shame. This is censorship, plain and simple, and it is unconstitutional. It is a recurring pattern. Very often these decisions are later overturned on appeal, but the harm has already been done. Censorship, even when it is short-lived, goes against the Constitution — says ANJ executive director Ricardo Pedreira.

A SIPI-APA report released in April expresses concern over “the recurring pattern of  legal decisions that impose prior restraint on the publication of information by news organizations.” SIPI-APA specifically cites the case of the  “O Estado de S. Paulo, which continues to be barred from reporting on a legal case involving one of the sons of Senator José Sarney, Fernando Sarney.

— Personally, I understand freedom of the press to be, above all, freedom of information. In this light, all news organizations should be shielded from any censorship — said former Supreme Court Justice Federal Ayres Britto, who in his last session in the National Justice Council (CNJ) last Novewmber created the National Forum on the Judiciary and Freedom of the Press.

— Accurante information is a right of the citizen. Those who take a stand against this right are the authorities. We are witnessing a judicial offensive designed to strip the people Estamos diante de uma ofensiva judicial para retirar do povo, por caminhos transversos, of their right to innformation — says federal deputy Miro Teixeira (PDT-RJ), recently named to head the Freedom of Expression committee of the Order of  Braziian Attorneys in Rio de Janeiro.

Decision also affects digital content

In April, the CNJ opened an investigation into the suspected sale of a judicial ruling by  Cleyton Camargo. The attorney of one of the parties to the case, who served as a magistrate in the area of family law, accused him of receiving money in exchange for deciding a custody question in favor of the other party, in 2011.

Last month, the internal affairs unit of the CNJ filed another case, this time to investigate whether Cleyton Camargo used his influence to favor the nomination of his son, state deputy Fábio Camargo (PTB), for a seat on the state accounting tribunal (TCE) of Paraná. Fábio took office in late July. O GLOBO was uanble to locate the judge or his son.

The injunction guaranteeing that news of these accusations would not be published was conceeded a month ago. The judge, in his petition, argues that “the facts as reported are pregnant with rancid and the most obscene lies.”

He also requested that the articles be removed from the newspaper’s Web site. hatred and the most vieram impregnados pelo ranço odioso da mais torpe mentira”. Ele pede, ainda, que as reportagens sejam retiradas da página do jornal na internet.

Ayres Britto admits that laws governing journalism published electronically are needed.

— In 1988, they had computers, but not a planetary network. There was no connectivity. For that reason, the Constitution did not deal with freedom of the press on the Internet. This is a complex subject and calls for deeper study  —  he said