Brazil’s president backs out of debate over permanent secrecy for official documents

The Brazilian government said it will no longer wade into the fight over adding a permanent secrecy provision to the information access law that is pending in Congress, Correio Braziliense and Folha de S. Paulo report. The amendment would allow top-secret documents to remain classified indefinitely.

President Dilma Rousseff’s decision to remain neutral was prompted by negative outcry over the secrecy clause by rights groups and legal scholars. In fact, the Supreme Court is currently considering two lawsuits that claim indefinite document classification is unconstitutional.

Two proposals are being considered. The first, supported by Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário, favors allowing top-secret documents to be classified for a maximum of 50 years. The second, which the president indicated she supported last week, would allow permanent secrecy for such documents.

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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