Brazilian senate approves bill guaranteeing "right of reply" for offended parties to respond to criticisms in media

The Constitution and Justice Committee of the Brazilian Senate on Wednesday, March 14, approved a bill that would regulate the right of reply in the news media, reported the newspaper O Globo.

The "right of reply" bill would stipulate a deadline for a judge to decide whether the offended party has the right of reply with identical amounts of space/time as the original offending story, according to the site Último Segundo.

The author of the bill, Sen. Roberto Requião (PMDB-PR), had problems with the press in April 2011, when he tore a recorder out of a reporter's hands during an interview and then began to hit the journalist.

In the past three years, the Senate has sent 148 letters to the press demanding corrections, and just one was published, so the bill would "counterbalance the probable, and frequent, irresponsibility (of the press)," said Requião, as quoted by the Senate's news site.

With unanimous support from committee members, the bill still must go to the House of Representatives. The right of reply has been unregulated since the Supreme Court declared the Press Law unconstitutional in 2009.

The proposed regulation provides for 60 days for the offended party to request a right of reply in the media outlet that published the original offending story, explained the news site G1. The media outlet then has seven days to respond and clarify the information that was published. If the explanations are not deemed satisfactory, the offended party may go to a court, which then has 30 days to decide whether the newspaper's response was suitable.

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