Brazilian court forbids TV journalist from criticizing governor's administration

In yet another case of judicial censorship in Brazil, an injunction is preventing a journalist from criticizing the administration of the governor of the state of Mato Grosso, Silval Barbosa (PSDB), reported the news site Repórter MT.

According to Midia News, the politician filed a lawsuit against the television anchor Maksuês Leite, of TV Cuiabá, an affiliate of Rede TV!, alleging that he was offended during a live broadcast. Barbosa is asking for more than $20,500 in damages.

Leite was informed of the injunction on Monday, March 12, and will have to pay roughly $2,800 each day he does not comply with the prohibition on criticizing the governor, explained the site Olhar Direto.

In an editorial, TV Cuiabá lamented the governor's lawsuit and compared the judicial response to the days of the military dictatorship. "The judicial decision to silence criticisms of the way Mato Grosso is governed sends us back to a time of uncertainty and fear," the editorial said. The station said it would appeal the injunction.

Judicial persecution has become an obstacle to a free press in Brazil, thanks to economic and logistical constraints resulting from the court decisions. Community media are especially vulnerable, as are small publications. The news site Congresso em Foco has been a recent target of legal campaigns that use the courts as tools of censorship.

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