Electoral court in Brazil censors blog post about arrested mayoral candidate

By Isabela Fraga

An Electoral Court in the Brazilian state of Macapá ordered the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo to remove a blog post by journalist João Bosco Rabello on Wednesday, Sept. 19, reported the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism. The National Association of Newspapers called the censorship "odd" and released a statement criticizing the court's decision, reported Yahoo News.

The withdrawn post, titled "A mayor under judicial control," is available on the website of the Regional Electoral Prosecutor of Amapá. The article examined the case of the current mayor of Macapá, Roberto Goes, who is conducting his campaign for reelection while his movements are restricted under court order after being arrested in a Federal Police operation in 2010. For example, Goes cannot go to public places or leave the state without permission. According to the newspaper, the blog post "makes no value judgements about the politician or his legal situation."

According to O Estado de São Paulo, the electoral court of Amapá upheld the request of one of the mayor's lawyers who argued that by making a reference to a past court case, not a current one, the journalist's post was intended to cause damage to Goes' campaign. The judge's decision, released by the newspaper, said that the post's text "creates a negative image which the Electoral Court rejects." The newspaper appealed the decision.

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.