Brazilian blogger forced to delete information about city councilman

Less than a week after a Brazilian court prevented a journalist from criticizing the administration of the governor of Mato Grosso, a court in Pará forced a blogger to remove all stories from her website about a city councilman from Belém, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported on Tuesday, March 20.

Editor of the blog Uruatapera, journalist Franssinete Florenzano was prohibited from publishing any information that named councilman Gervásio Morgado. In case of not following the court's ruling, the blogger would have to pay a $2,700 fine , reported the news site Diário Online.

According to Folha, the politician was offended by content on the blog and by the personal offenses contained in the anonymous responses commenting on the story. "They call me a thief in all possible ways," said the councilman, adding that the blogger "is responsible for all the anonymous responses."

The Journalists Union of the State of Pará (Sinjor-PA in Portuguese) published a statement condemning the court decision and promised to make a public protest against the councilman, according to the site Notapajos. The Union also noted that the councilman is a public figure and therefore is accountable to society.

Despite complaints from international organizations, court censorship still is an obstacle to freedom of expression in Brazil. Because of economic and logistical limitations stemming from lawsuits, prosecution in the courts is detrimental to community news media and low-circulation publications. The news site Congresso em Foco is one of the recent targets of courts being used as a censorship tool.