Brazil creates forum to monitor judicial decisions on press freedom

By Isabela Fraga

The Brazilian government now has a commission to oversee court cases involving freedom of the press, the National Forum of Judicial Authority and Freedom, created on Tuesday, Nov. 13, by the National Judicial Council (CNJ in Portuguese), reported the newspaper Estado de São Paulo.

Proposed by Minister Carlos Ayres Britto on his last day as president of the CNJ, the Forum's objective is to monitor decisions that involve freedom of the press, like censorship, follow judges' performance and provide information to help them rule, added the magazine Exame.

According to the Forum's charter, the commission also will provide statistical figures on relevant judicial decisions and studies on the performance of judges in other democratic countries. These reports will be incorporated into law schools to further improve them.

The Forum's commission will be made up of two members from the organization, one from the Order of Brazilian Lawyers, one from the National Association of Newspapers, one from the Brazilian Radio and Television Broadcasters, one from the Brazilian Press Association and two judges selected by the CNJ.

The National Forum of Judicial Authority and Freedom arrives at a time when Brazil struggles with several situations that limit freedom of the press. Judicial censorship has been named the main obstacle to press freedom in Brazil by international organizations like the Inter American Press Association and Freedom House.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.