Brazil’s top court accused of using censorship to protect officials

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  • January 6, 2011

By Maira Magro

Transparency and public information access advocates accused the Supreme Federal Court (STF) of censoring information about investigations against politicians and public officials, O Globo reports.

A new court rule says that investigations and other proceedings before the STP that involve deputies, senators, and ministers will only use the officials’ initials, regardless of whether the case is in camera or not, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper explains. An editorial in the paper says that these rules make it practically impossible to know which authorities are under investigation.

The president of the STP, Cezar Peluso, told Estado that one of the reasons for the new rule was to prevent the press from reporting on investigations against lawmakers, for example, and – in the process – harming their honor and public image.

The director of Transparency Brazil, Cláudio Abramo, criticized the STF’s attitude and argued that the Constitution guarantees the freedom to access public information and requires the authorities to be held to account for their actions, O Globo adds.

For similar examples of censorship to protect politicians and public officials, see this Knight Center map of censorship during Brazil’s 2010 elections.

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.