Court censors radio station in Brazil

The state court of Rondônia censored the Brazilian radio station Cultura FM in Porto Velho after the station named the construction company, Engecom, as responsible for building the state's new legislative and executive offices, reported the website Rondônia Dinâmica.

The decision also affects the journalist and lawyer Arimar Souza da Sá, host of the show The People's Voice, who along with the radio station will have to pay a fine of R$3,000 (US$1,850) for each report released about the contractor, added the newspaper A Folha de São Paulo.

In an Aug. 3 injunction, Judge José Jorge Ribeiro da Luz ordered the station and host to "refrain from releasing any reports that contain the names of the plaintiffs on matters not yet considered in court," according to Conjur.

Ribeiro da Luz said his order did not constitute censorship. "This is not about limiting or curbing the rights of the press [...] I think what it does say is that all information provided to the public should be reputable and properly disclosed after being considered final," he said defending his decision, reported the website Rondônia Agora.

Souza de Sá told A Folha de São Paulo that he saw a "warning" to the local population since the beginning of the year that the contractor would win "the best bids" in Rondônia. "The judge gagged me. I feel like my rights as a journalist have been diminished," the journalist said. He plans to appeal the decision.

The Union of Professional Journalists of Rondônia released a statement Aug. 4 in which they "strongly rejected practices like these used during the dictatorship."