Brazil's First Lady drops suit against newspapers O Globo and Folha de S. Paulo

The first lady of Brazil, Marcela Temer, has dropped her case against newspapers O Globo and Folha de S. Paulo, according to O Globo.

Three months ago, in an action condemned by journalism entities as 'censorship', the Justice of Brasilia requested the withdrawal of two reports from the outlets’ sites regarding extortion attempts suffered by Marcela Temer. In WhatsApp conversations, a hacker threatened to drag the name of Brazilian President Michel Temer through the mud.

The articles were taken down from the sites of Folha de S. Paulo and O Globo after they received subpoenas on Feb. 13. Judge Hilmar Castelo Branco Raposo Filho, of the 21st Civil Court of Brasília, imposed a penalty of R $ 50,000 (about US $16,000) per day on both newspapers if they failed to comply with the decision.

However, only two days later, Judge Arnaldo Camanho de Assis of the Federal District Court of Justice accepted an appeal filed by Folha and suspended censorship of the newspaper. In the decision, Assis wrote that it is not for a state body, such as the Judiciary, to establish in advance "what should and should not be published in the press." On the 15th, the material returned to the site.

At the time, the Brazilian Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters (Abert), the National Association of Magazine Editors (ANER) and the National Association of Newspapers (ANJ) reported in a joint note that the court decision that was "a curtailment of freedom of the press,"

The Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji) had also positioned itself against the censorship. "Preventing reporters from publishing reports is detrimental not only to the right to information, but also to the journalist's role in overseeing public authority," the organization said.

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.

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