Blog post accusing lawyer gets Brazilian journalist $54,000 fine

A court in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sentenced journalist Paulo Henrique Amorim, host of the show Domingo Espetacular on Rede Record, to pay damages amounting to more than $54,000 to the lawyer Nélio Machado, reported the newspaper O Dia.

According to the magazine Consultor Jurídico, Amorim was charged for publishing "offensive and accusatory statements without proof" on his blog, Conversa Afiada. Machado claimed that the journalist accused him of being involved with criminals and meeting with Gilmar Mendes' advisers before the president of the Federal Supreme Court granted his client, banker Daniel Dantas, a writ of habeas corpus in 2008.

"Freedom of expression and information, especially when it's exercised by media professionals, like any fundamental right, is not absolute. Beyond the limits enshrined by their truth, it should be balanced with the rights of those affected by the infomation," argued Judge Fernando Cerqueira in his decision, reported the website Última Instância.

The court proceedings are available here. The court also demanded that the journalist publish the decision in its entirety on his blog. Amorim can appeal the decision.

In 2010, the TV host was also sentenced to pay damages to the director of journalism for Rede Globo, Ali Kamel, after accusing him of racism in his blog, reported Portal Imprensa.